February 2017 News

Militancy Countered Demonetization Effect In Jammu And Kashmir, Reveals Report

10 February 2017
The New Indian Express
Fayaz Wani

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir was not affected by demonetisation because of people choosing to deposit money in banks after the eruption of militancy in the state, the PDP-BJP coalition government has revealed in the Economic Survey report 2016. Unlike other parts of the country, which were marred by chaos and turmoil due to the scrapping of Rs 500 and 1000 currency notes, people in Kashmir remained mostly unaffected and no long queues were witnessed at banks or at ATMs. 'After an eruption of militancy in the valley in 1989, people are maintaining their bank accounts,' said prominent businessmen and civil society member, Shakeel Qalandar. Another economic expert said due to fear that militants may decamp with their money or valuables, people deposit their money in banks. 'In the valley, every person has a bank account. Due to uncertainty, nobody prefers to keep cash or valuables at home. They prefer depositing money in their bank accounts and valuables including jewellery in bank lockers,' he said. Furthermore, bank connectivity and reach of ATMs also ensured normalcy in the valley after the scrapping of Rs 500 and 1000 notes. According to the Economic Survey report, there are 20 lakh households in J&K as per census 2011. 'At an average, there is thus one bank branch for 1,000 households in the state while at a national level there is one bank branch per 1,800 households,' it said. The report further said there are two lakh ATMs in India while in J&K there are 2,260 ATMs of which 1,011 ATMs are in the valley. 'There are 1,998 number of bank branches in J&K comprising 934 in the valley, 998 in Jammu province and 65 in Ladakh region as on March 31, 2016,' the report stated. It quoted the Reserve Bank of India stating cash deposits in J&K from Nov 9 to Nov 30 stood at Rs12,865.11 crores. The PDP-BJP coalition government in the state has also ruled out the impact of demonetisation on the long unrest in the valley last year triggered by the killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani, in an encounter with security forces on July 8. At least 94 people including two policemen were killed and over 13,000 injured in the long unrest in the valley last year. Of the 13000 injured, 8,000 were hit by pellets.