Srinagar Oct 12: After remaining closed for months post abrogation of August 5 and then COVID-19 lockdown, business seems to be picking up in Jammu and Kashmir. This could be gauged from the fact that Government of India (GoI) has collected the second-highest Goods and Services Tax (GST) from J&K last month.
As per the government figures, the authorities have collected Rs 650 crore GST returns in September from Jammu and Kashmir, which is highest in last nine months. It is also 2nd highest across India in the previous month.
The increased revenues indicate reinstatement of normalcy in business operations.
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.
An official of Finance Department said increase in GST returns was a good sign. “This indicates business operations have started in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir’s economy has been badly hit since August 5 last year,” he said.
Adnan Ahmad, who runs a garment shop in Srinagar, said 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”.
A hotel owner Bilal Ahmad said tourism activities were yet to pick up in Kashmir.
“This sector has been almost shut since August 5 last year. We can only make our earning once tourists visit Kashmir,” he said.
Tourism is considered backbone of Kashmir’s economy.
In 2018, Kashmir received 3,16.434 tourists between August and December while 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. (KINS)