The economy of Jammu and Kashmir is largely based on the agricultural sector and its associated agencies. Cold water pisci-culture and seri-culture have always been the staple job for the Kashmiris. Woods from the valley of Kashmir is used for manufacturing superior grade cricket bats which are popularly called ‘Kashmir Willow’. Kashmir saffron is also very popular and draws hefty foreign exchange for the state. The agrarian exports from this state also includes barley, millet, apples, cherries, rice, oranges, peaches, vegetables, pears, corn, sorghum besides its handmade products like shawl and rugs.

Horticulture in J&K

Horticulture also plays a pivotal role in making Jammu and Kashmir economically strong. This sector, with an astounding annual collection of 300 Crore (equivalent to USD 51 m), besides its foreign exchange around Rs. 80 crore (equivalent to USD 14 m) is second best grosser of state’s economy. Kashmir is a prominent contributor to horticultural sector, and it is the richest region of J&K in this regard. Horticulture products from the J&K include plums, apricots, almonds, apples, walnuts and cherries.

The Doda district holds a large deposit of grade one quality sapphire. Especially in Jammu, the service and manufacturing sector is gaining rapid momentum in the recent years. Moreover, various companies have already opened their consumer goods manufacturing units here in Jammu division. ASSOCHAM has been planning with the central and state Govt. to establish SEZs and industrial parks with those industries which have the potential for attracting investment. The exports figure had touched INR 1150 Crore. (USD 190 m) during 2005-06. The growth of the industrial sector is already stymied by the hilly landscape and shortfall of power. The J&K Bank, that is associated with S&P CNX 500 Club, registered a net gain of INR 59.8 Crore (USD 10m) in the year 2008.

The Union Govt is trying hard to integrate J&K economically with the other parts of the subcontinent. The state receives the largest central grant of USD 812 m per year, and it has the lowest poverty count in India around a meager 4% only.

With a vision to improve infrastructure, Indian Railways has taken up the task of building the great Kashmir Railway with an expenditure of USD 2.5b. The fragments like 119 km long Qazigund –Baramula sectionor 17.5 km long Banihal-Qazigund section that passes through 11km PirPanjal Tunnel have already been constructed. Katra-Udhampura pathway will be operating in the current 2013. The construction of Banihal-Katra section is already progressing. The railway tracks crisscross major seismic zones are exposed to extremely fluctuating temperature. The inhabitable terrain also has made it one of most challenging engineering projects. Once completed, it will surely boost tourism in Kashmir. Three additional railway lines like Poonch-Jammu, Leh to Srinagar via Kargil and Bilaspur to Leh via Mandi have already been proposed.

Steps have already been taken to reduce regional imbalances and development at the district or sub district level has been connected to the state level. It has resulted in a progressive influx in five-year planning funds. The aims of the 8thPlan have some stipulated targets for J&K like opulence in productivity, poverty reduction, self-reliance, employment generation and self-reliance. But, the development targeted by the 8th plan has been thwarted by the continuous disturbance prevalent in J&K and the desired result was never achieved. The main thrust areas regarding infrastructural development include basic amenities like health, water supply and education besides irrigation, roads and power supply, which is a real problem here.

Tourism in J&K

J&K has reinvented tourism industry in the year 2009, and it was one of the heavily favored destinations in the whole country. Gulmarg that boasts of one of the highest elevated green golf field in the world is a prominent skiing destination in India. With the decline of violence, the economy has got a sure booster including tourism.

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