Change of strategy
Kashmir Valley has been witnessing a turmoil since the past three decades now. During these years the valley has witnessed massive destruction and unabated killings. So much so that no sphere of activity has remained untouched during the last three decades.
However, what has bore the brunt of the turmoil during these years is the trade and commerce and other activities associated with trade. Kashmir as we all know is a consumer state. We produce very little-be it our agricultural output or Industrial- the valley has very little to boast about.
Kashmir has witnessed a gradual decrease in its output. During the early 50’s the valley was self-sufficient and did not import anything apart from salt, tea and clothing. However, all this has changed now. Presently, valley now imports goods worth more than Rs 41,000 crore a year and only exports goods worth Rs 7,000 crore. There is a deficit of Rs 33,000 crore, which increases every year.
Since, most of the exports comprise of the products that come from the cottage industry, the valley has not been able to rise as an Industrial economy that could have assured us a bright future.
The valley as of now is dependent on trade and service industry that is managing the needs of the population here. However, owing to the turmoil and the intervention of separatist groups, the valley has witnessed more that 2000 days of strikes and curfew during the last 27 years.
This means that during these strike and curfew days the trade and service sector has remained shut creating a great dent on its future prospects. It was in this context that trade body like Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry came out in the open and asked the separatist leadership to work out an alternative to the strike calls as the unwarranted strike calls have affected the businesses badly.
Since trade and other related activities had already suffered hugely owing to the devastating deluge of September 2014, the frequent strike calls have now become a cause of concern as trade has been on an all time low in the valley.
What is more concerning is that the government too is not interested to infuse a fresh leash of life in the plunging trade in the valley. The government has its concerns as well. The state’s revenues have not shown a marked increase where the state could have intervened and helped to ease out the situation.
Business lending firms and banks too are concerned out the liquidity in the markets as low cash inflow in the market has been affecting its prospects greatly.
Besides, the lack of congenial atmosphere for trade is making things all the more complicated. The economy is on the brink of witnessing a collapse as trade and commerce has taken a backseat due to the domestic and international market pressures coupled with the situation in the valley.
The valley’s most prized supports to economy-handicrafts, hospitality, tourism or general trade have been at the receiving end and if corrective measures are not taken, things may end up on a very sad note.