2020 is the year, which the business community across the globe would like to forget and same holds true for their Kashmir counterparts for whom the year led to huge losses, job cuts and mounting bank loans.
The Kashmir Inc had high hopes on 2020 for revival of their business fortunes that was reeling under post August 2019 situation. But things didn’t go as planned for them. Come March 2020, the situation across the globe took a drastic turn which will be etched in the annals of history, and Kashmir’s economic scenario turned bad to worse.
As per the conservative estimates of Kashmir’s inc, the business losses were recorded above Rs 20,000 crore, half a million youth lost jobs in the private sector, tourism sector one of key employment generators too faced slump.
The situation in the hospitality sector is such that only estimated 28,000 tourists visited Kashmir during 2020 which is way lesser than the average number of tourist footfall Kashmir records annually.
The situation in the handicraft sector too was distressing as it is heavily dependent on exports. The business nosedived as the global markets were closed, therefore no buyers were available for intricate designed handicraft items from Kashmir.
Kashmir’s horticulture also faced problems throughout the year due to less demand for fruits as the economic meltdown took a heavy toll on spending power of people across the country.
In this year, the job losses in the private sector were rampant, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries though came out with a figures of job losses to the tune of 5 lakh due to worsening economic conditions emerging out of COVID pandemic.
However, the J&K administration in the middle of a pandemic announced a Rs 1350 crore economic package. But the KCCI recently stated Financial Package announced by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha was yet to be implemented fully.
“The Financial Package announced by Shri Manoj Sinha, Lt Governor, Jammu & Kashmir under no: FD-VII-Gen(120) R&R Dated: 25-09-2020 was a ray of hope for the Business Community. While appreciating the efforts put in by Lt. Governor for the said package. But at the same time most of the announcements in the package are still awaited.”
The Spokesperson stated that the Committee has recommended an interest subvention of 5% for six months amounting to Rs. 1089.24 Crore, partial waiver of fixed electricity charges for one year amounting to Rs 80 crore, waiver of water charges for six months costing Rs 25 crore , time bound One Time Settlement (OTS) , capital infusion in accordance with the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, replacement of old vehicles and insurances support costing Rs. 50 Crore to the transporters support to artist and others costing Rs 108.75 crore which are partially implemented and needs immediate attention from the J&K Government.
Chief Spokesperson, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation, Farhan Kitab said “Kashmir economy is passing through turbulent times and 2020 was the worst phase for our business community. Our losses piled, there is a liquidity crunch, it has destroyed the buying capacity of consumers as revenues have come down.”
“If we see India’s GDP too has contracted negative 23 percent, and imagine the situation in Kashmir which is already facing too many problems.”