Rashid Paul

J&K’s Economic Survey 2023- A Reminiscence of Soviet Style Policy of Statistics

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Despite generous resource allocation from the Centre J&K lags behind the national average in Per Capital Income

After a long gap of five years the Union Territory administration of Jammu and Kashmir has come out with its Economic Survey 2022-23.  The Survey “reviews” the developments in the J&K economy during nine months of the previous financial fiscal. The document however reminds one of the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republics style of official manipulation of figures as facts. The publications there were aimed to make the then Soviet citizenry believe that they had achieved a supreme position in the world and the evil West was trailing far behind them. The communist political philosophy had stultified the minds of its subjects to the extent that nobody could imagine otherwise to the statistics propounded by its authoritarian machinery.

The latest Economic Survey 2022-23 has been presented at a time when the economy of Jammu and Kashmir has gone through two disruptive phases of a colossal scale. The first has been the ending of the half autonomy of J&K and the subsequent confinement of an entire population for a prolonged period extending many months. The second gigantic disruption was caused by the lockdowns due to Covid 19 pandemic. It was however a worldwide phenomenon that harshly affected the economies across the globe.

Economic Survey, the flagship document should have reviewed the condition of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir in the context of these negative forces and factors. In democratic societies state institutions are supposed to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses of economies in a rational impartial manner and quantify the quality of policy responses needed to better the situation. For the larger national interest people manning the bureaucratic apparatus are ideally required not to act as cultists of a particular system of political ideas or its projected narratives.

The data projected in the Survey depicts an all goody goody picture of everything and makes us believe that we are soon going to surpass the ruthless dragon the way we have overcome it in demographic value.  It would have made a credible imprint had it highlighted the progresses achieved in major developmental programmes of the governing elite irrespective of adversities and analysed everything on the basis of real numbers.

There are n number of instances of promotional data in the Economic Survey which fail the simple tests of logic and ration. One amongst is the Per Capita Income (PCI) of Jammu and Kashmir. PCI is a measure of the amount of money earned per person in a geographic region and is largely used to determine the standard of living.

The Economic Survey claims “the PCI of J&K is Rs 1, 65,755 (GSDP at current prices). It is growing fast and is catching the National level Income Rs.1, 96,716. J&K has progressed 6 percentage points in Per Capita Income (PCI) from 2014-15 to 2022-23 (i.e. PCI increase from 72 per cent to 78 per cent)”.

The survey further asserts “a comparative analysis of growth performance of J&K vis-a-vis India and northern states during 2014-15 to 2021-22 reveals a positive trend in the UTs annual growth rate. It indicates that between 2014-15 and 2021-22, J&K’s economy grew at a compound annual growth rate of 5.7 per cent, a rate faster than the national average of 5.1 per cent and four other northern states viz. Punjab (4.6 percent), Delhi (5.5 percent), Himachal Pradesh (4.9 per cent) and UP (4.3 per cent)”.

The plain fact is that J&K’s PCI at current prices is significantly lower than the national average of India by almost Rs 31, 000. The contrived unfavourable conditions and the pandemic have brought in an economic havoc to J&K.  It trails behind its northern neighbours like, Punjab, Himachal, Haryana and others as is reflected in this table.






J & K Punjab Himachal Pradesh  Delhi Haryana

(2 AE)

1,16,61 9 1,62,112 2,01,854 4,01,982 2,74,635



Despite an ugly proxy war, separatist sponsored strikes and the government imposed restrictions and curfews over the past three decades, Jammu and Kashmir was catching up with the growth story of India. During the militant uprising of the past, wheels of its 5, 07,372, (6th Economic Census) cottage, micro, small and medium industries spinned as usual. More than 2.4 million MTs (2018- Directorate of Horticulture J&K) of its horticulture produce sustained the life of ordinary people and also helped better their life style. But the adverse situation that started unfolding in 2019, the earning avenues of the average man have dried up and the standard of living has fallen. Catching up with rest of India is only craftiness.

PCI at (constant prices) for all India level is Rs 1, 72,000, while as for J&K it is only Rs 1, 32,806. PCI growth rate at the national level is 15.8 and for J&K it is only 13.88. Its growth rate was 12.57 in 2018-19 but fell to 3.19 in 2019-20, the year of the revocation of J&K’s autonomy and the ensuing restrictions. The Covid lock downs hammered it down to 0.90. (MoSPI, GoI and Directorate of Economics & Statistics, J&K as per MOSPI methodology).

Generous resource allocation (like many other states and union territories) from the Centre are estimated to up the Revenue Receipts of J&K for 2023-24 to Rs 1, 06,061 crore. But the erstwhile state seems to have emerged as a lagging region. Inequalities, social, political or economic only exacerbate the conflicts and bleed the contestants alike.

The writer is senior Associate Editor of Kashmir Images

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *