The economy across Jammu and Kashmir is bleeding but the central government is proceeding to initiate afresh Rs 100000 crores of investment, but how can new investment begin when the existing business is lost?
When the Centre scrapped the semi-autonomous status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the Govt wants to develop the region’s economy and by abrogating the provision “terrorism” will end in Kashmir.
Both narratives have failed so far, Jammu Kashmir witnessed a spike in stone-pelting incidents in 2019 as compared to 2018 recording 1,999 such cases, of which 1,193 took place after the Centre announced the nullification of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into Union territories on August 5, according to official data. So we can say the region became more volatile after the abrogation-if it is the situation on the grounds for civilians, we can no longer comment on the militancy aspect.
It is very clear when you scamper something that belongs to people- you incite them to revolt.
Second, coming to the development vestige, Kashmir’s economy had suffered losses to the tune of around Rs 17,878 crore in the first 120 days after August 5, 2019, and around 4.96 lakh jobs were lost during this period. The jobs include various sectors including tourism, horticulture, agriculture, health, education and Journalism.
The government’s advisory on August 2 had asked tourists and Amarnath yatris to curtail their visit to the Valley. Though the advisory was lifted on October 10 last year, the footfall continued to remain low. As per the J&K Hoteliers Club, the occupancy in hotels was less than 10% and the losses came at a time when the Kashmir’s economy was still recovering from the devastation of 2014 floods and other factors such as demonetisation and imposition of GST.
Kashmir has a legacy of suffering and loss, Survival of the local business, in last more than 30 years is already decimated. Kashmir usually remains closed more than 3800 days because of curfews, protests, strikes and it is itself a miracle that people don’t die of hunger, homelessness or unemployment but that has also limits and it’s quite ensured that if the situations remain same which is similar from the day of abrogation of Article 370, Kashmir’s economy will collapse one day.
The worst came to Kashmir’s apple basket as it was caught in the crossfire of conflict and weather. It was a loss at two ends. One area that barely got a mention in the longer narratives on the loss was the culture of start-ups. Jammu and Kashmir was perhaps the only place in Asia where the success rate of the start-ups was as high as 85 per cent; part of the credit goes to Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI). Since most of these low-ticket initiatives require normal market conditions with most of the modern facilities like internet, they have either crumbled or are barely breathing.
In a place where Internet ban has been extended to 6 months now, filling GST bills without Internet costs a multiplication of allowances for businessmen. Respite this no heed has been paid by the centre.