'Agriculture land conversion will hit jobs in Srinagar in next 15 years'

Rapid conversion of agriculture land in Srinagar to non-farm activities will drastically bring down a number of jobs in primary sector in the next 15 years, a report reveals.

The report prepared by the Town Planning Organisation Kashmir predicts that the fast transformation of land use in Srinagar district will reduce jobs like cultivators and agriculture labourers from the present 8 percent to 3 percent by 2035.

The percentage of the working population engaged in primary economic activities has reduced from 22 in 1981 to 8 today, the town planning report says.

“Primary sector constituting mainly cultivators and agriculture labourers is assumed to further decrease from present 8.5 percent to 5 percent in coming years,” the report forecasts.

Activities associated with the primary sector include agriculture, mining, forestry, farming, grazing, hunting, fishing and quarrying.

Estimated to be about 3 percent of the total of main workers by 2035, the decline in agricultural labourers, the report says, is attributed to land use conversions to non-farm activities, mechanisation of farming and migration of people from rural to urban areas.

Due to decline in working opportunities in the primary sector, people have started moving towards the tertiary sector.

Workers in the tertiary category have increased from 66 percent to 88 percent of total workers’ population during the last three decades, the report reveals.

Tertiary economic sector involves activities associated with the distribution of finished products to the market. Activities associated with this sector also include services like government and private transport and communication, wholesale and retail sales, entertainment, restaurants, media, tourism, insurance, banking, healthcare, and law practice.

Employment in the tertiary sector is estimated to add 2.90 lakh new jobs during the next two decades. These jobs will be created in sectors like retail and wholesale, trade, commerce, warehousing storage, transport and communications, services and allied activities including the informal sector.

“Tertiary sector which is the predominant feature of all district headquarter towns will continue to play an important role in the economy of the region,” the report says.

It further says that the targets which have been set as policy measures are pre-requisite to arrest the deteriorating economic base of the city.