J&K imported goods worth Rs 58,050 cr in 2017-18

Trade ins up by more than 50% since 2011-12

MUKEET AKMALI
Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 19 2018 1:19AM | Updated Date: Dec 19 2018 1:19AM
J&K imported goods worth Rs 58,050 cr in 2017-18Representational Pic

Signifying state’s rising dependence on outside supplies each passing year, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed more than 50 percent increase in its imports in last seven years.

In 2017-18, J&K imported goods worth Rs  58,050 crore as compared to Rs 28,228 crore imports in 2011-12, according to recently released official data.     

However, the exports recorded in 2017-18 were only Rs 30,406 crore, creating a trade deficit of Rs 27644 crore.

In comparison, in 2011-12 the trade deficit was Rs 15,858 crore with exports worth Rs 12,370 crore. 

In 2012-13, trade balance was Rs 18,211 crore. Imports in this fiscal were recorded at Rs 30,906 crore and exports Rs 12,695 crore.

In 2013-14 trade balance was Rs 18,379 crore, imports were Rs 34,297 crore and exports were Rs 15,918 crore.  Trade deficit in 2014-15, Rs 15,846 crore, exports were Rs 19010 crore, imports Rs 34,856 crore.  In 2015-16, trade deficit was Rs 17,281 crore, imports stood at Rs 37,480 crore, exports Rs 20,199 crore. In 2016-17, trade deficit was Rs 16,856 crore, exports and imports were Rs 22458 crore, Rs 39,314 crore respectively.

Experts believe that rising dependence on imports is impeding growth of the state. Over a period of time J&K is turning to be ‘fully dependent’ on outside supplies to meet the food requirements.  Further geographical disadvantage has hampered the growth of the industrial sector in sector.

“Unfortunately, increase in trade balance is resulting in flight of capital. For this our government has no policy,” said president, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, KCCI, Sheikh Ashiq.

“We have been time and again reiterating that there has to be a policy to curtail our import bills. Our horticulture sector has not shown growth which was expected from it due to policies of the government, handicraft sector is dying due to official apathy,” he said adding in this scenario trade deficit is bound to increase.

“Even day-old chicks for poultry sector are being imported from outside the state. To add to it shrinking farmland is pushing J&K to dependence on imports has reached to its highest level of about 1 lakh metric tonnes in 2016-17,” said another trader. The 2017 economic survey report reveals that in 2002-03, J&K imported 503 thousand metric tonnes of food grains, which rose to 952.55 thousand metric tonnes in 2016-17 due to shrinking farmlands.

Jammu and Kashmir has lost an estimated 10 lakh kanal agricultural land to non-agricultural purposes in the past 10 years primarily because of the failure of the state government to curb the practice.  

As per official data, Jammu and Kashmir had 8.47 lakh hectare agriculture land in 2005-06 which has shrunken to 7.94 lakh hectare till 2015-16. This means, the loss in a decade is estimated 53,000 hectare farmland (equivalent to 10, 60,000 kanal) which has been converted for non-agricultural activities across the state.

The unabated conversion has become a major cause for spurt in food imports. In last three years, the import of food grains has witnessed considerable increase from 756.60 thousand metric tonnes in 2014-15 to 952.55 thousand metric tonnes in 2016-17.

Though, the state budget has shown increase in state’s exports but it has not given particulars about it.

However, according to experts, the horticulture sector continues to be major contributor to the export segment of the economy, followed by handicrafts.

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