Foreign tourists stay away as unrest continues in Kashmir

The unrest in Jammu and Kashmir continues to take a toll on the state’s tourism industry with foreign visitors giving it a miss for another year. In 2016, only 63,207 foreign tourists visited the state as compared to 86,477 in 2014. The state has been under the grip of violent protests since July last year following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani. The state was ranked 23rd in the list of India’s top 36 tourist destinations this year. According to data compiled by the Market Research Division of the…

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2016 Unrest haunts Eid sales in Kashmir

Economy down, markets bereft of hustle, say traders The severe damage caused to economy due to 2016 unrest is haunting Kashmir businesses badly with traders here saying that markets are down and sales are unable to pick up even ahead of Eid, which has traditionally remained a peak season for retail. Markets used to remain abuzz a week before Eid, however, the situation this time, as per business community, is different with markets remaining bereft of hustle. Complaining of less footfall and minimum sales, traders blame declining purchasing power of…

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Will JK face double taxation from July 1? GST Row

From July 1 onward people in Jammu and Kashmir may have to face brunt of double taxation as the state government has failed to evolve consensus over implementation of Goods Service Tax (GST) regime, with opposition terming its extension as a direct attack on “fiscal autonomy” of JK. GST is scheduled to be implemented from July 1 across India however its implementation would put JK in a fix. Would supplies coming to the state be taxed under GST as well as state tax, making goods and services in JK costlier…

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Thousands lose jobs as restive Kashmir’s tourism economy dwindles

Tourism is important for Jammu and Kashmir’s economy, contributing 8% to the state’s gross domestic product. In 2016, the state recorded 1.29 million tourists. At the Dal Lake in Srinagar, Rizwan Ahmad Bhat stands next to his shikara (a traditional boat), named Do Badan Ek Jan (two bodies, one soul), waiting for tourists. Last year this time, the lake was packed with visitors exploring its waters and the views of the surrounding Zabarwan hills. This summer, the lake and its shores are empty of tourists and the smartly-dressed boatman is…

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All states pass GST Act, except JK

With Kerala approving the State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) Act on Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir remains the only state yet to pass the legislation ahead of the July 1 launch of the pan-India tax regime. “All states and union territories, except Jammu and Kashmir, have approved the SGST Act and are ready for the smooth roll-out of Goods and Services Tax (GST) with effect from July 1,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement here. Kerala issued an ordinance on Wednesday approving the State GST Act while West Bengal…

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Kashmiri work force shrinks, Migrant labourers gain millions odd day jobs every year

Migrant labourers gain millions odd day jobs every year Kashmir’s indigenous workforce is showing an ever decreasing participation in skilled and unskilled sectors, leaving millions of day-jobs for migrant labour from different states of India to pick up. According to the 2011 census, there are about six lakh non-local skilled and unskilled labourers engaged in different vocations in Kashmir. From snacks sellers to hawkers, from plumbers to carpenters, and barbers to masons, it is migrant labour from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and other Indian states who run the show.…

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Was ‘Alternate GST model’ for JK ignored?

While the state government is caught in a major controversy over implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST) law in Jammu and Kashmir, an official panel had recommended an ‘alternative GST’ similar to the European Union model for the state in 2013, incorporating all features of the central law but allowing the state legislature to exercise its competence vis-à-vis taxation. The five-member committee, constituted by the state’s general administration department on October 4, 2013 to examine revised draft Constitution (105th Amendment) Bill 2013 of Government of India vis-à-vis Constitution of…

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Kashmir valley promoted as ‘Safe Destination’ in Pune

In an effort to boost footfalls, the Tourism Department today promoted Kashmir as a safe destination during an event in Pune. An official statement issued here said the Department of Tourism participated in an event on mountaineering titled, ‘Safe Climbing Initiative’. It said the programme was held to promote J&K as a ‘safe, forward and adventure tourist friendly state’. Around 500 climbers from across the country took part in the event. Speaking on the occasion, Tourism Director, Kashmir, Mahmood A Shah said: “We have the highest number of high-altitude lakes…

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GST is dead and buried in J&K

The people in the rest of India often wonder: why is Kashmir simmering and who is responsible for all the mess here? The simplest answer: it is the Kashmiri politician who is at the root of this problem. Any evidence needed? Just look at the way politicians conspired to kill the GST regime, making it an issue as the country’s onslaught on Kashmir’s autonomy. The internal politics of Kashmir-centric parties in their unhealthy competition to sound louder as champions of Kashmir lands the issue in the lap of separatists. The…

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Sidharth Malhotra shoots for Aiyaary in Gulmarg, Pahalgam

After staying away from picturesque Valley following the unrest in 2016, Bollywood has returned to Kashmir with Hindi movie star Sidharth Malhotra having shot in beautiful locales of Gulmarg and Pahalgam recently for his upcoming movie ‘Aiyaary’. The resumption of Bollywood shooting has been termed a welcome move by the tourism players in Kashmir, who have been facing the brunt of negative publicity by some sections of national media. Last year, as per tourism officials, various film projects which were scheduled to be shot in Kashmir were cancelled due to…

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