Kashmir on road to become ’Valley of hope’ for startups: Ex-NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant

Ex-NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant highlights the transformation in Jammu and Kashmir post Article 370 abrogation, suggesting it as a promising hub for startups. He also says Kashmir is a better destination for meetings and incentives than Davos, Switzerland.

Written By Gulam Jeelani
Updated25 May 2024
Amitabh Kant in Gulmarg with Raja Yaqoob Farooq, Director Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir on May 23.
Amitabh Kant in Gulmarg with Raja Yaqoob Farooq, Director Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir on May 23.

India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant has lauded the significant changes witnessed in Jammu and Kashmir after the scrapping of Article 370 in 2019. Kant, the former CEO of NITI Aayog, has said that Kashmir has the potential of becoming the 'Valley of hope' for startups, especially after recent ‘radical’ transformation on the ground.

“I have been coming here for a long time, and I have seen the period of stone pelting, hartals, and violence. And I see a very radical transformation (post 370) on the ground here," Kant, who visited the Valley, told local daily Greater Kashmir.

On August 5, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government abrogated the Article 370, which granted special status to J&K, was abrogated, and the erstwhile state was divided into two Union Territories- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Also Read: Kashmir News: After Srinagar, Baramulla breaks voter turnout record with 59 % polling, highest since 1984

“I discussed this with the Lieutenant Governor. He is very keen that we constantly do unique things in Kashmir. And I suggested to him, we should get the top CEOs and do a CEOs retreat on resilience and reinvention in Kashmir. We should also do a very major meet of all start-ups, the top start-ups and amplify the start-up movement in Kashmir because Kashmir is the ‘Valley of Hope’ for all start-ups,” said Kant who met L-G Manoj Sinha on May 21. 

Kant appreciated L-G Sinha's administration for ensuring free, fair, and safe elections. This remark comes days after Srinagar and Baramulla seats of Jammu and Kashmir witnessed record voter turnout in the Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

Jammu and Kashmir, without an elected government since 2018, is currently administered by the Centre's appointee Lieutenant Governor (L-G). In December last year, the Supreme Court directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to conduct the Assembly polls in the UT by September 2024.

Kant also highlighted the potential for film tourism in the Valley. "This panoramic view: the snow, the mountains, and the greens – all this you will not get anywhere else in the world. So, I would appeal not merely to Bollywood but to the film industry of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala too. All of these are very big industries. They should all come and shoot in Kashmir. This is a big opportunity.”

Also Read: Kashmir News: J-K assembly polls soon after Lok Sabha Election 2024? Here's what CEC said after record Baramulla turnout

 Bollywood actors Ajay Devgn and Jackie Shroff recently wrapped up teh shooting of Rohit Shetty’s directorial Singham Again in Kashmir.

He also compared Kashmir to Davos, the famous town ski resort in Swiss Alps which hosts the World Economic Forum. “I have been to Davos several times. I think Kashmir is a better destination for meetings and incentives and conventions than Davos. The challenge is that we need to have more hotel rooms,” he said.

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