SRINAGAR: Due to over 27 years of conflict and turmoil, Jammu and Kashmir with population and geographical area almost double than Himachal Pradesh is trailing in economic indicators behind the North Indian Himalayan State, reveals J&K’s Economic Survey-2016.
“J&K’s net area (in Indian part) is 1,01,387 sqr kms and its population as per 2011 census is 1.25 crore. The density is 124 people per sqr km. Its GSDP (at constant prices 2011-12) for 2015-16 was Rs 91806 Crore and the per capita income (NSDP 2015-16) was Rs 57,858. The growth rate is 7.79% over 2014-15,” stated the Economic Survey-2016, which was recently released by PDP-BJP coalition government in the State Assembly. In comparison, Himachal as a total geographical area of 55,673 sqr kms with a population of 68,64,602 as per 2011 census and density of 123 people per Sq km.
“HP’s GSDP for 2015-16 at constant/Base 2011-12 was Rs 95,929 crores. Its per capita income (NSDP 2015-16) is Rs 1,11,977 and growth rate is 7.72 % over the previous year,” states the report.
J&K , as per the report, is trailing behind the HP with GSDP (Constant ) less by Rs. 4123 crore (2015-16), NSDP (Constant) less by Rs. 2263 crore (2015-16) and per capita NSDP (Constant 2015-16) less by Rs 54119.
With just 55% of the geographical area and 55% population compared to J&K State, the GSDP of HP at constant prices is 4.30% more than J&K State.
The growth rate of HP is 7.72% while the growth rate of J&K is 7.79% at constant 2011-12 prices for 2015-16. But the fact is that growth rate of HP is consistently growing at same pace.
According to the report, the growth trend (Constant 2011-12) of J&K and HP for last 4 years shows a lot of variation. The growth rate of J&K in 2012-13 was 2.80, 2013-14 7.33, 2014-15 -0.96 and 2015-16 7.79, it said.
In comparison, HP’s growth rate is constantly witnessing uptrend. The State witnessed the growth rate of 6.41 in 2012-13, 7.09 in 2013-14, 7.46 in 2014-15 and 7.72 in 2015-16.
On tourism industry, which is the backbone of the economy of both the states, J&K is far behind the Himachal Pradesh.
“The tourist inflow to J&K for 2015 stood at 92.03 lakh tourists whereas during 2014 it stood at 95.25 lakh. On the contrary, tourist inflow to HP for 2015 and 2014 stood at 175.31 lakh and 163.14 lakh tourists respectively. The tourist inflow to J&K is less by 83.28 lakh tourists in 2015 and 67.89 lakh tourists in 2014 despite the fact that
J&K especially Kashmir has tremendous scenic beauty and tourist spots than that of HP,” the report stated.
It states that in both the States, hydel power potential is estimated at 20,000 MWs each. “HP has harnessed capacity/projects to the extent of 6370 MW (32% of estimated potential) while J&K has exploited 3263.46 MW (16% of estimated potential) only.”
According to the report, large and medium scale industries in J&K are only 86 with employment of 19314 persons as against 503 such industries with employment of 60908 persons in Himachal Pradesh.
“The net area sown of J&K is only 7% of total area (comparable area) while the net area sown of HP is 12% of its total cadastral surveyed area of 4543 thousand hectares,” it stated. The economic survey disclosed that reason of backwardness of J&K is that it is a “conflict area”.
“Had J&K been a conflict-free state, its economic progress vis-à-vis Himachal Pradesh should have been at least double the economic progress of the North Indian state,” added the report.