Industrial Sector in Limbo!

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In Jammu and Kashmir state, the large and small scale industries are in doldrums courtesy officials negligence, bureaucratic delays, corruption as well as poor infrastructure, which is equally responsible for the decline in manufacturing process. According to local print media reports, the Jammu and Kashmir state has 86 large and small-scale industries, which provides employment to near about 19000 people across the state. After the assessment by World Bank and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on the “ease of doing business” in different states of India, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is ranked on 29th position.

The state government in past had taken various initiatives regarding the up-liftment of industrial sector, but all the tall claims fall flat. The leading corporate units now a days are in limbo from couple of years. Some years back, a large number of corporate units had been widen-up by state government, as the state government had completely failed to bear their expanses.The leading corporate units like J&K Minerals, Government Joinery Mills, J&K Ply and Board Industries,Hindustan Machine Times (HMT)  had been completely widen-up by the state Government. Ironical condition is that, the states leading Public Sector Undertaking unit, which was sometimes state’s backbone of economy “The Jammu & Kashmir Cements LTD” which was fully occupied and abuzz with industrial activities, had completely snap down its industrial operation .

The State Industrial Corporation (SICOP) runs 24 industrial units in the state, but the land is only available for one industrial unit in South Kashmir’s Ananthnag District.This kind of gross negligence by the state authorities had leads to closure of such financially sound units, as now there is not any takers from outside the state, who is keen to invest in J&K bound industries. By the closure of such leading units, the unemployment ratio is rising sharply, by which a large number of educated youths from Management and Engineering background had left the state, to earn their livelihood. Besides that the Transport and logistics of the state is too in limbo.

The state Government in past had taken various decisions regarding the generation of private industrial units in the state to invoke the self-employment scenario, but still no comprehensive policy had been ruled out by state legislatures.While opting for opening an industrial unit, there is cumbersome procedure of getting the permission from authorities. The state has a large number of industrial estates, but now it seems that all the land had been initially occupied by the blue eyed persons. Last year the former PDP-BJP led coalition Government had giving a nod for opening various industrial estates for budding entrepreneurs, but still no developmental work has been carried out.

TheIndustrial output in J&K has shrunk to large extent, as there is no adequate marketing facilities especially outside the state and are not export-driven even so, as there are only few units which are doing well. The state government is fully aware of such deterioting situation of such industrial estates in Jammu and Kashmir. But irony is that the opinion of officials is limited. The state industrial policy had completely failed to driven any positive output by whichour industrial sector has taken a back seat.

On electricity front, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is still lagging behind in meeting domestic and commercial requirements of electricity, coupled with high transmission and business losses. The J&K state’s electricity sector is a developing market. For years, the matter of balancing the state’s supply against the demand for electricity had remained a largely unresolved matter. The state is faced significant challenges in revamping its network responsible for the supply of electricity, including lack of efficiency, rising demands for energy, and political instability too. Provincial and federal agencies, who are the largest consumers, often do not pay their bills. At one point electricity generation had shrunk by up to 50% due to an over-reliance on fossil fuels, by which the state government is under criticise for privatizing this sector.

The industrial growth has been hampered to a significant extent. On one hand, the GDP is sharply declined from couple of years, which shows a drop of nearly 50 percent. The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is totally flat due to steady decline. However, thebusiness experts suggest that the state government must revive the industrial policy and implement the industrial scene of Make in India initiative, especially for the manufacturing sector. If the ‘Make in India’ programme of Central Government is to materialise the IT sector, then this is the most obvious bet for J&K.The state government must recognise this fact that the economic stagnation on industrial front in Jammu and Kashmir cannot be only attributed to law and order problems alone, but state government must take forward steps to improve the fast growth of national and per Capita Income, so that unemployment can be eradicated quickly through rapid industrialisation.

(Shah Khalid is a freelance Journalist, having a Diploma in Mass Communication & Journalism, is covering Education and Business issues. He is also a member of J&K RTI Foundation and an Electrical Engineering student at IUST Awantipora)

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