The new ‘normal’ in Kashmir has cost nearly half a million jobs — bundhs and internet blackout are …

The abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A of constitution which gave Kashmir a special status severely hit tourism in the valley.
As of August 2019, as many as 144,500 jobs have been lost in Kashmir’s tourism and handicrafts sector, according to the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
Tourism accounts for almost 7% of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Yet another challenge is the internet blockage. The internet shutdown led to over 2,600 tour operators delaying plans for any promotional campaigns, Manzoor Ahmad Pakhtoon, the president of J&K Tourism Alliance told Forbes.
The Narendra Modi government in New Delhi has repeatedly insisted that the situation in Kashmir has been ‘normal’ despite the suspension Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution, which gave the state a special status. But data shows that the
bundhs and the internet blackout has brought the economy to a grinding halt leading, and half a million people lost their jobs in the process.

As of August 2019, as many as 144,500 jobs have been lost in Kashmir’s tourism and handicrafts sector, according to the
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). While the overall job loss in the commercial space stood at 496,000.

Much of the damage is in the tourism sector, which makes up for almost 7% of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP). “The back of Kashmir’s tourism sector has been broken because of the situation emerging after August 5, 2019: Tourism is in a shambles while artisans and weavers are jobless,” IndiaSpend
reported citing Abdul Majeed, vice president of KCCI.

2018 vs 2019
In fact, the number of travellers in Kashmir — including those on an
Amarnath Yatra — plunged to a decade low in 2019. Almost 500,000 tourists visited the valley last year — including 32,985 foreigners. And most of them left before the government revoked its autonomous status.

The August to December period witnessed a slump of 86%, as per the tourism department.

Yet another challenge to it is the internet blockage, which has impacted communication in the area. The internet shutdown led to over 2,600 tour operators delaying plans for promotional campaigns, Manzoor Ahmad Pakhtoon, the president of J&K Tourism Alliance
told Forbes.

“The campaigns begin in November for the winter and spring season. Even now, when winter is at its peak, adventure sports in Gulmarg have no takers,” he had said.

“Doing trade without favourable conditions and the internet is unimaginable in the present-day world. In one fell swoop, irreversible damage has been caused to the state’s economy; not a single sector has been spared,” Majeed added.

See also:

Kashmir’s 5-month internet blackout is the longest ever imposed in a democracy – and it’s stifling local workers

India’s top court has declared the record-breaking 159-day-long Kashmir internet blackout illegal

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