Effect on Jammu and Kashmir’s economy due to the encroachment by the Indian Army
Kashmir has been the unwilling victim of the propaganda by India. Indian government had fully acknowledged and stood by the fact that Kashmir deserved autonomy before enacting Article 370 which allowed Kashmir to have autonomy to a certain extent. However, on 12th August 2019, the Indian government abolished article 370. This action led the locals of Kashmir to face many atrocities. The people of Kashmir suffered like never before, and so did their economy. The suffering is yet to stop.
In just 4 months, Kashmir went through a loss of about 20,000 crore Indian rupees. Joblessness rose steeply as the economy crashed. Businesses shut down and barely any new business developed. Kashmir is an area rich with a culture that makes it extremely attractive to tourists. However, after the abolishment of article 370, tourism took a hit as well. The curfew and the ban on the internet did not lead to many tourists visiting. International tourists barely visited Kashmir out of fear of violence. 316,434 tourists visited Kashmir in 2018 from August to December. However, this number dropped drastically to a minute number of 43,059. This shows an unbelievable decline of 86%. Regardless of the hard evidence, the Indian government maintains its stance that tourism in Kashmir did not decline due to the amendment in article 370. Even after the restoration of internet services, tourism did not return to how it used to be.
The locals which relied on tourism suffered a lot because of the loss of the peak season due to the strikes, curfew, and the prolonged unavailability of internet services. Few international tourists would be interested in visiting under such dire circumstances which resulted in the unfortunate taxi drivers facing many hardships. The taxi services which owned expensive cars are now burdened with loans because the local tourists do not prefer to travel in cars such as Fortuner.
About 144,500 Kashmiris lost their jobs following 5th August. Farmers suffered enormously due to the constant threat of militants. Although, there was an unexpected snowfall in November that ruined the crops. The Indian government solely blames the snowfall for the farmers’ misery even though the figures prove that the amendment in article 370 is largely to blame for it. The apple industry alone contributes to 8% of Indian occupied Kashmir’s GDP, which is around 80 billion Indian rupees. Other than apples, barley, corn, rice, cherries, oranges, saffron, millet, vegetables, wheat, and sorghum play a major role in Kashmir’s GDP. Barley scores a handsome amount of GDP for Kashmir. However, export was made too hard due to the military threat and communication blockade. There was another reason for a drop in export- locals who would work like they normally did were considered to be willing to accept the unilateral decisions of New Delhi.
Jammu and Kashmir’s economy crashed like it never has in the past 70 years. According to CMIE data, the unemployment rate hit the 20% mark after the abolishment of article 370. The unemployment rate had stayed below 20% for the past two and a half years. In just the sectors of tourism, handicrafts, and information technology, around 90,000 people became jobless. Businessmen who took loans from the bank are on the verge of bankruptcy. Countless businesses have shut down or are on the verge of closing down. Businesses related to e-commerce and information technology have suffered greatly in this period due to no Internet services.
The Indian government seems unwilling of accepting responsibility for the chaos caused by the amendment of article 370. Kashmiris remain helpless in this situation and have been subjected to inhumane cruelty. The only thing that flourished in this period was poverty. Even now, article 370 remains abolished. If Jammu and Kashmir are not given back their partial autonomy, they will soon drown in misery and poverty. Kashmir may soon reach the point where it would become almost impossible for it to prosper economically.