NEW DELHI – The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has urged the government and farmers’ organisations to resolve the impasse at the new farm laws. It has said that the economies of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are bearing losses to the tune of Rs 3,500 crore every day.
“The ongoing protests are dealing a big blow to the interconnected economies of the region, including Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh,” ASSOCHAM was quoted by Business Today as saying.
ASSOCHAM stated that even though the economies in these states are primarily based on agriculture, other sectors such as food processing, cotton textiles, automobile, farm machinery and IT have become their lifeline. Trading, tourism, hospitality and transport are the other sectors boosting the economy of the region.
ASSOCHAM President Dr Niranjan Hiranandani said, “The size of the combined economies of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are Rs 18 lakh crore. With the ongoing farmers’ agitation and blockade of roads, toll plazas and railways, the economic activities have come to a halt. Industries such as textiles, auto components, bicycles, sports goods, which cater significantly to the export markets would not be able to fulfill their orders, ahead of Christmas, harming our goodwill amongst the global buyers.”
General Secretary Deepak Sood said that supply chain disruptions are also taking a toll in the retail prices of fruits and vegetables. Sood said that industries and farmers are paying a heavy price for the disruptions, that have, ironically, come at a time when the economy started unlocking from COVID-19 impact.
Sood said that ASSOCHAM would like to ensure the farmers that the core of industry, business and trade, big or small, is rural India where 50 per cent of the citizens reside. He said that the industry has a big stake in the welfare of the farmers.
ASSOCHAM said that the Indian economy needs to double down on growth which is only possible with a conducive environment for industries. Government’s promise to spend big budget on roads and transport cannot be fulfilled with the ongoing protests.
The association said that it is incumbent upon all to resolve whatever differences are there in the crucial agriculture sector. Reforms would ultimately help the people of the region, it said.
Farmers protest may impact economic recovery: CII
The disruptions in supply chains caused by the current agitation by farmers in many parts of India will have a bearing on the economy over the coming days and may impinge upon the ongoing recovery from the economic contraction due to COVID, industry body CII said on Monday.
The farmers’ protest which has intensified over the past couple of weeks has led to obstruction of traffic and road blockades across multiple checkpoints in the northern states of Delhi-NCR, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, and in smaller measure, in many other states. The already broken supply-chain which was recovering post the pandemic induced lockdown has come under severe stress, CII said.
Due to the situation, around two-third consignment in transit are taking 50 percent extra time to reach destination in states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi-NCR. In addition, the transport vehicles are forced to travel up to 50 per cent longer to reach Delhi from the warehouses in Haryana, Uttarakhand and Punjab. The industry confederation said that this may push logistics cost by upto 8 to 10 per cent.
Many companies in industrial belts surrounding Delhi are facing labour shortages as people struggle to reach production facilities from neighbouring towns.
According to Nikhil Sawhney, Chairman, CII Northern Region: “The ongoing farm agitation requires an immediate amicable solution as it is impacting not only the economic growth but also putting a huge dent to the supply chain which is affecting the large and small industries alike.”
“The effect of the agitation is more acute for industries in hilly regions of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir who are dependent on goods transported by road. There is also uncertainty around the transportation of farm products to the major markets of Delhi-NCR, it could lead to significant losses to the farm sector in these states. Tourism, a major revenue and livelihood source in these states, is likely to get adversely impacted at a crucial time when the sector is looking forward to regaining some momentum following the unlocking of the economy.”
Given the challenge to get the economy back on the growth trajectory, CII has urged all the stakeholders to urgently seek ways to end the ongoing protests and reach an amicable solution, in the interest of industry and economy. (With Inputs from IANS)