Jammu and Kashmir is going to host a mega investors’ summit in coming days and official sources say they are going to hold road-shows and other promotional events in various parts of the country to attract investors here. Official circles are upbeat, as they believe that once the investments start pouring in, it will change the economic landscape of the newly created Union Territory, and create employment avenues for the youth.
“We want investments to pour in here so that people get jobs and there is overall development. That is why we are preparing for an investor summit which will take place soon. For this, we want the cooperation of the people and the police will have a huge role in that,” the Lt. Governor G C Murmu has said about it.
Wishing government all the success in wooing the businesses to invest in Jammu and Kashmir, there are a few things that need to be highlighted. Kashmir, for instance, owing to its geography as well as the way this place has been managed thus far, is no way near to being a destination where big trades-people may want to invest. For any business to be successful, there are a few prerequisites – one of the major requirements being a stable political atmosphere. This is something that Kashmir lacks so desperately. Given the politics of this place, Valley continues to remain on the proverbial edge, so much so that even the slightest provocations have a history of putting life out of gear here for months together.
For instance, in past few months local businesses have suffered immense losses owing to the overly precarious and turbulent situation that has followed since the abrogation of the erstwhile state’s special status and its split into two union territories. In the emergent situation if the local businesses are barely able to keep themselves afloat, what is in here that would motivate an outsider to come in and invest, is a question staring everyone in the face.
For the growth of industry, any place needs an investor-friendly industrial government policy besides an enabling atmosphere by way of different concerned government agencies invested with a friendly and facilitating work culture. Both these things are missing here. Then, a place also needs good network of roads to facilitate to and fro movement of raw materials and finished goods. And it needs a sound energy base to power the industrial super-engine. Again Kashmir lacks both – the frequent and long, disconcerting closures of Jammu-Srinagar national highway and a network of broken and dilapidated roads elsewhere is an unfortunate reality. Same is the case with electricity. How could a place spare energy for the industry if it is not able to meet even the domestic energy requirements of its population?
Countless other grey areas can be cited to show that there is ‘many a slip between the cup and the lip’. Political rhetoric aside, investment in Kashmir is subject to many ifs and buts, which need to be taken care of. This place needs some practical and sincere action on the ground if the idea is to translate the political promises of Kashmir’s “overall development” into a reality.