Srinagar, Oct 12: After remaining closed for months post abrogation of August 5 then COVID-19 lockdown, business seems picking up in Jammu and Kashmir. This could be gauged that the Centre has collected the second-highest Goods and Services Tax (GST) from J&K last month across the country.
For the last few weeks, a significant part of the economy has resumed operations as well as pace in the valley.
As per the government figures accessed by news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS) the authorities have collected Rs 650 crore GST returns in September from Jammu and Kashmir, which is highest in the last nine months. It is also 2nd highest across the country in the previous month.The increased revenues indicate reinstatement of normalcy in business operations.
An official of the Finance Department said the increase in GST returns was a good sign. “This indicates business operations have started in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir’s economy has been badly affected since August 5 last year,” the official told news agency KINS.
Kashmir’s economy has witnessed heavy losses, educational institutions remain shut.
“There was a lockdown for months with no business. Now business has started resuming in Kashmir. But there are some sectors that are difficult to survive,” said Adnan Ahmad, who runs a garment shop in Srinagar.
A hotel owner Bilal Ahmad said tourism was yet to be restarted in Kashmir.
“This sector has been almost shut since August 5 last year. We can only make our earning once tourists visit Kashmir,” Bilal said , who is sitting idle at home these days.
Tourism is considered the backbone of Kashmir’s economy on which over 20 percent people are directly or indirectly dependent. In 2018, Kashmir received 3,16.434 tourists between August and December. In 2019, the number fell to 43,0,59 for the same period.
The political upheaval followed by the COVID-19 pandemic has been a double blow to the tourism sector.
People associated with the tourism sector like in hotels, travel agencies, houseboats have been rendered jobless.
The handicrafts sector also suffered huge losses for the last one year.
Similarly the education sector has been badly hit. About 10 lakh students could not attend school and college for months because of curfew-like restrictions.
Authorities have directed schools to start online classes for students.
Unlike other parts of the world, children of Kashmir are also denied to attend online classes due to low internet speed.
The GST collections for September in India stood at Rs 95,480 crore, the highest on a monthly basis since the lockdown began in March this year. Collections for September were 10.4% higher than August and 4% higher than last year’s same month.