Kashmir’s economy in dire-straits, biz community awaits sops

Kashmir’s economy in dire-straits, biz community awaits sops
Representational Pic

Srinagar, Dec 24: Kashmir’s beleaguered economy continues to witness a slump as the businesses are yet to recuperate from losses incurred by them during the last three years due to multiple reasons.

Businessmen in Kashmir complain of facing a plethora of problems from their inability to repay loans to ruing the fact that the government has not come up with any business revival package despite knowing the business community here have incurred huge losses.

As per the business leaders’ liquidity crunch in the market coupled with rising inflation has made the revival of businesses difficult.

President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) said that since 2019 our estimated business losses are pegged at Rs 50,000 crore. “It is not a small amount particularly for an economy like us. People in Kashmir don’t have buying power, there is a dire not for a stimulus package to rejuvenate the economy. Even in this year, when a lockdown period was brief, still, we incurred Rs 10,000 crore losses, to add to it thousands of youth lost their jobs as the private sector is not able to come to terms still.”

“ J&K administration should project in the upcoming budget business losses our economy has suffered and come up with a package to address the issues confronted by the business community .”

President, Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK), Shahid Kamili said that “80 percent of our industries will be shut by March 2022 if the government doesn’t come up with a comprehensive financial package. There are scores of businessmen who are turning NPAs due to the losses they are incurred since 2019 which was none of their faults. It is high time that the government must handhold existing industrialists, we are not against investment coming from outside but the priority of the government should be to bail out existing unitholders first who are on verge of closure.”

“Ironically, instead of coming to the rescue of local industry, the government has withdrawn all concessions to the Kashmir industry. Allowing local purchases from the Government Gem portal in J&K as the last nail in the coffin of the ailing industry in J&K.”

Kamili said in absence of the incentives, the cost of input of raw material has increased multi-fold with a result the cost of production has hiked up beyond the selling price of other states.

“Banks should defer the ratings of accounts for 2 years as there have been multiple restructuring of accounts,” he said.

President, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), Muhammad Yaseen Khan said “there is severe liquidity crunch; people don’t have the power to purchase things as every segment of the economy has been dented. Our main source of cash flow used to come from developmental activities, but looking around there is hardly any development taking place. It is the responsibility of the government to come up with a package to mitigate problems confronted by the business community.”

“If you look at the main drivers of Kashmir’s economy they are not doing well. Handicraft exports have come down to just Rs 600 crore, the tourism sector have incurred huge losses and a single tourism season is not enough for them to recover, our traders are complaining of less business. There have been 40 per cent job losses in the private sector which has added to the slump in business activities in Kashmir.”

Greater Kashmir