Srinagar: Kashmir economy post abrogation of Article 370 is in taters with more than five lakh people losing jobs and business community incurring over Rs 17,800 crore losses in the last 120 days.

A Preliminary Economic Loss Assessment Report released by The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has revealed startling facts about the hardships faced by the business community from August 5 to December 3.

According to KCCI, the total estimated loss of 120 days for 10 districts of Kashmir is Rs 17,877 crore, with the service sector, including tourism, taking the biggest hit of Rs 9,191 crore during the period. Kashmir, the report noted, was losing over Rs 119 crore each day in 11 major sectors the Valley’s fragile economy roots into.

A whopping 4.96 lakh job losses during the period too form the crux of the report, implying how hard the uncertainty and months of closure hit the common Kashmiri. The service sector including tourism lost 1,40,500 jobs.

In the same period, agriculture and its allied services lost Rs 4,591 crore with 12,000 job losses. Manufacturing and construction sub-sectors witnessed losses of Rs 4,095 crore, swallowing 70,000 jobs. 

KCCI said it employed two methods for assessing the losses. The first is the top-down method of loss estimation based on Kashmir’s Gross Domestic Product of 2017-18 stated by the year’s Economic Survey.

The second method of calculation is based on the sector-wise study of the local economy. “An assessment based on the actual number of unit holders and persons engaged in each sector, job and financial losses was undertaken,” the report said. 

KCCI said the present disruption has resulted in the loss of jobs to lakhs, borrowers of financial institutions have lost their capacity to fulfil commitments and a substantial number of accounts are likely to turn bankrupt.

“Many business establishments have closed down or are contemplating closure. Sectors directly dependent on the internet like information technology and e-commerce have been ruined”, the report said

Exposing government, KCCI said intervention in the horticulture sector for which Rs 8,000 crore were earmarked for the purchase of apples has come a cropper and caused price turmoil and panic sales.

“Tourism is in shambles. Artisans and weavers are jobless. With estimated losses of around Rs 2520 crores, manufacturing is in tatters. Transporters cannot find buyers for their vehicles. Automobile dealers and potential buyers of new vehicles have been burdened with an unprecedented tax of 9 to 10 percent ­– a forty-fold increase on the existing rates and even the GST portion is loaded with this tax,” the report said.

KCCI called the report a small step towards putting on record the economic losses the population of Kashmir has suffered “in their quest for a life of dignity, respect and honour.”

“In this regard, no compensation – in any manner whatsoever– is sought from any quarter. The economic interests of Kashmir appear to be in harm’s way and the continuation of the present situation only leads towards distress sales of assets and bankruptcy”, the report added.

 

Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

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