Srinagar, Jammu And Kashmir —
Six months after the August 05 decision in 2019 by which the BJP-led Central government ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir while bifurcating it into two Union territories, Kashmir was limping back to a new sort of normalcy. However, the normalcy was short lived as the Coronavirus made its entry into the Valley and compelled the authorities to order a total lockdown so as to contain the spread of the highly contagious disease.
The lockdown in Kashmir has had a crippling impact on almost all the sectors, from Agriculture, Manufacturing, Banking, Financial Services to Ecommerce, Education, Healthcare and Tourism & Hospitality.
The economy of the newly carved out UT has been particularly hit, with the losses being estimated in thousands of crores.
Back in December 2019, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) had put the losses at Rs 17,878 crore in the face of severe restrictions in the Valley following the dilution of Article 370.
Releasing a comprehensive sector-wise report on losses due to disturbance after the August 5 decision by the Centre, KCCI had stated that the losses had been assessed based on Jammu and Kashmir’s GDP for 2017-18.
Later, the KCCI revised the figures and put the losses at Rs 30,000 crore since August 2019, with more than five lakh people rendered jobless.
On Wednesday (June 03, 2020), an amalgam of 30 trade bodies of the Valley held a press brief in Srinagar and said that Kashmir witnessed 3000 days of lockdown, thus simultaneously deteriorating the situation of business community here. The traders also stated that the special package of Rs 20,000 crore announced by the government has been announced for the people excluding the business community of Kashmir.
“In particular, our businesses are suffering from last ten months and we have never come out of the lockdown,” the traders said, adding that the situation of business has got further deteriorated after the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic in Jammu and Kashmir.