Srinagar, 15 May: National Conference on Saturday asked the GOI to shun its ostrich policy towards the sinking economy of Jammu and Kashmir, saying any further delay in sustaining local businesses, trade, employment, Agriculture and its allied will have a disastrous impact on the local economy which is already on the deathbed.
In a statement they said that in a far from the days when J&K was one of the better performing states with a booming economy among the top of low fiscal deficit and low poverty states with GDP of 100,000INR during 2016-17, Party’s Additional General Secretary Sheikh Mustafa Kamaal said the path-breaking strides that the state was making have been ruined due to reckless clampdown and successive COVID-19 lockdowns with horticulture, real estate, agriculture processing, manufacturing, tourism, transport and handicraft sectors taking a major hit.
“It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the local economy of Jammu and Kashmir, in particular Kashmir, is lurking towards an imminent catastrophe. The prime reason for impeded JK economy besides clampdowns and lockdowns is the gross failure of the GOI to recompense the losses induced by the deluge of 2014. Now with another lockdown in place, the scope of any fast recovery of our economy seems to be a far cry,” he said.
Referring to the packages doled out by the local JK administration. Kamal said the packages were cosmetic in nature that failed to curb the investment inversions and nurse back to health the ailing manufacturing, horticulture, tourism, transport and handicraft sectors.
“Similarly nothing was done to check Job lay-offs, sluggish recruitment process, business closures and bankruptcy and other ominous issues faced by our people. The little to no public spending also has had a devastating impact on JK economy. Now that the fresh COVID induced curbs have returned, the local tourism players, marginal traders and transporters have again hankered down, this time bearing more pain than ever before.
The government, ditching its responsibility, has turned volte-face to the plight of shut businesses and transport as a result of which the people associated with tourism, travel, transport, handicraft and real estate are facing immense hardships. Most of them have been impoverished or are on the very brink of it. The laidback attitude of the government has severely pummeled the labourers, hawkers, marginal transporters and small traders. Where are they supposed to go?” he added.
Dismayed at the ostrich policy of JK administration and GOI over the exigencies, which have propped up in wake of the ongoing lock down, Dr Kamal called for a comprehensive covid-19 sustenance policy for the ailing economy of JK.
He said the package should consider loan waivers, extension of moratorium to term loans and working capital, changing the NPA norms and reduction of electricity, and water utility bills by 70%. “Extending the benefits of BPL to APL consumers during the COVID crises will also go a long way in easing the burden of people,” he said.