On January 11, 2018, when the then finance minister of undivided Jammu and Kashmir, Haseeb A. Drabu, presented the annual budget, little did anyone realise that it would be the last one for the state. One of the key highlights was a focus on logistics. “The big idea,” he said, “is to move the economy to a frontier of lower logistics costs. The only way to reduce transactional and inventory management costs, which are hurting our businesses, is to bring down the logistics costs to sub 10 per cent levels.” The figure of 25-30 per cent for the state was unusually high.
According to RBI data, the state’s growth rate fluctuated between a negative 3.2 per cent and 17.7 per cent in the past few years. The economy reached a stage where industry and livelihoods either collapsed or were on the verge of it.