Once, the cheapest and best place to live in the country has become the costliest state, even more expensive than many metropolises. The inflation rate in the price index as per the Consumer Price Index for June is 3.4 per cent much higher than the national average of 3.18 per cent, thus making Jammu and Kashmir costliest state in the country. Besides, the unreliable and unpredictable road communication links between most parts of the state and rest of the country wrong prioritisation and lousy planning have also immensely contributed to the messy economic situation of the state. Because of its self-sufficiency in food grains and other essentials, the state just some decades back met almost all requirements, including mutton from its resources and depended little on imports from the neighbouring States. For its verdant highland pastures and a whole community engaged in rearing sheep and goats, the state did not only meet its mutton requirements but also exported an excellent quantity of animals to other states. Because of having lost vast areas of highland pastures during past thirty years due to security concern there has been substantial fall livestock farming and the state for meeting its requirements is almost totally dependent on importing sheep and goats from the Northern States, mostly Rajasthan.
The state at an average imports eleven lakh animals annually. And at an average half, a million kilograms of mutton is consumed in the two provinces. So far no serious effort has been made in the state neither in public nor in the private sector to develop the livestock industry on the modern scientific lines, and the government is yet to have a policy on persevering the highland pastures and opening them to the nomadic tribes engaged in the trade. It has not only failed to tap its resources in increasing livestock farming, but it also has been unable to channelise its resources to become self-sufficient in poultry. Every month billions of boiler birds and culled poultry birds are imported in the state. So it holds about vegetables and fruits. For its dependence on the imports and unpredictable road links with the rest of the country the state, more particularly Kashmir province has become costliest. The frequent closure of highway and restrictions on vehicular traffic since January have added to the inflation. It is time for both the general masses, entrepreneurs and the government to work for cutting down dependability on imports and work for self-sufficiency. For entrepreneurs, there are plenty of chances in investing in sectors like livestock farming, vegetable farming and poultry.