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," it said.
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.