According to a report released by Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Tuesday, the government’s clampdown on Kashmir has left the union territory’s economy at a loss of Rs 17,878 crore in four months of restrictions and communication shut down in the valley following abrogation of Article 370 and creation of two union territories out of Jammu and Kashmir.
Releasing a comprehensive sector-wise report on losses due to disturbance after the August 5 announcement by Home Minister Amit Shah, the KCCI said the losses have been assessed based on Jammu and Kashmir’s gross domestic product of 2017-18. “The study has focused on the 10 districts of Kashmir Valley comprising 55 per cent of the total population of Jammu and Kashmir. A time span of 120 days has been assumed for the calculations. As per this method, Kashmir’s economy has suffered a loss of Rs 17,878.18 crores,” the report said.
An assessment based on actual number of unitholders and persons engaged in each sector, job and financial losses suffered by them was undertaken, it said. “For example, the tourism sector has been broken into its various sub-sectors like tour operators (inbound and outbound), house boats, hotels, tourist transport, shikaras, adventure sports and other allied sectors. Efforts were made to make the report as inclusive as possible. The losses suffered by pony wallahs, rafting groups to photographers and guides have also been assessed,” the report added.
KCCI said the present disruption has resulted in loss of jobs of lakhs of people.
Borrowers of financial institutions have lost their capacity to fulfill their commitments and a substantial number of accounts are likely to turn bankrupt, many business establishments have closed down or are contemplating closure, it said. “The sectors directly dependent on internet like information technology and e-commerce have been ruined. The government intervention in the horticulture sector for which Rs 8,000 crore was earmarked for purchase of apples has come a cropper and caused price turmoil and panic sales,” it added.
KCCI said no serious exercise has been undertaken to either assess the losses or to support the helpless farmers. “Tourism sector is in shambles. Artisans and weavers are jobless. With estimated losses of around Rs 2,520 crore, manufacturing is in tatters,” it said.
In October it was reported that the shutdown in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir led to losses of Rs 10,000 crore in three months. Sheikh Ashiq, president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it was difficult to assess the nature of losses as the situation in the valley is not normal yet.
“The running business losses for Kashmir have crossed Rs. 10,000 crore and all sectors have been severely hit. It has been nearly three months now and yet the people are not doing business because of the prevailing situation. There has been some activity in the recent weeks, but the feedback that we are getting is that the business is dull,” Ashiq told news agency PTI.
The unprecedented communication block in the Valley with no availability of the internet has affected the population severely. “In today’s times, the basic need of any business is access to the internet. We have conveyed it to the administration that the businesses will suffer in Kashmir and the economy will weaken. This will have huge consequences in the longer run,” he said.
Contradicting the government’s claims that abrogation of article 370 will help develop the state’s economy the report suggests otherwise.
(With inputs from PTI)