‘Militancy Countered Note Ban Effect In Kashmir’

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir was not affected by demonetization because people deposited their money in banks after armed rebellion broke in the State, the PDP-BJP coalition government has revealed in Economic Survey report 2016.

“In general, the cash is deposited in banks by the people of the state which has now become a habit, as it was already a compulsion due to militancy,” the economic survey report released recently by the State government revealed.

The State was not affected by the demonetization announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 last year.

Unlike other parts of India, where there was chaos and turmoil due to 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.

Prominent businessmen and civil society member, Shakeel Qalandar, said that one of the factors was maintaining of bank accounts by people of the State.

“After the rise of militancy in Valley in 1989, people are maintaining the bank accounts,” he said.

“In Valley, every person has a bank account and everybody deposits the money in his or her account.  Due to uncertainty, nobody prefers to keep the cash or valuables at their homes. They would prefer to deposit the money in their bank accounts and keep the valuables including jewellery in lockers of their banks,” an economic expert said.

Besides, the bank connectivity and reach of ATMs also ensured normalcy in the Valley after scrapping of Rs 500 and 1000 notes.

According to Economic Survey report, there are 20 lakh households in J&K as per census 2011.

“On an average there is one bank branch for every 1000 households in the state. While at national level there is one bank branch for every 1800 household,” it said.

As per the report, there are 2 lakh ATMs in India while in J&K there are 2260 ATMs of which 1011 ATMs are in valley.

“There are 1998 number of bank branches in J&K comprising 934 in valley, 998 in Jammu province and 65 in Ladakh region as on 31.03.2016,” it further stated.

The report quoted RBI as saying the cash deposits in J&K from Nov 9 to Nov 30 was Rs 12865.11 crores.

The PDP-BJP coalition government in the State has also ruled out impact of demonetization on the over five-month long unrest in the Valley last year triggered by the killing of 21-year-old-Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by forces on July 8.

J&K Chief Minister Mehooba Mufti had informed State Legislative Assembly on January 16 that the State government has not received any report so far on effects of demonetization on the recent unrest in the Valley.

At least 100 people including two policemen were killed and over 15000 injured in over five month long unrest in the Valley last year. Of the 15000 injured, over 6000 were hit by pellets.

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