J&K industry leaders interact with Union Finance Minister, demand separate industrial policy for UT

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Srinagar: Top industry bodies from Jammu and Kashmir have demanded a separate industrial policy for the union territory.

In a webinar with the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday, the industry representatives said that the Centre has to take prompt steps to save the dying industry and deal with the growing unemployment in the union territory.

According to statement, the webinar organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Peace Forum, presented a grounds report of the situation in the UT.

Sitharaman said that the Centre was keen to listen and understand the ground situation in J&K. “We are interacting with all the stakeholders in the industry and we have been benefitted from this. We want to keep our ears close to the ground and based on the inputs from various stakeholders, policy changes are made.”

She said that the new J&K Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha has also sought greater support and more resources for the UT.

According to the press release, the J&K Peace Forum chairman, Satish Mahaldar said, “The primary objective of the meeting was to understand how we can achieve sustainable industrial development in all regions for increasing the rate of growth, value of output, employment, income and overall economic development of the UT. The trend in the development of J&K is not encouraging; it has been lagging behind most of the states with regard to the growth of the net state domestic product at current prices. J&K UT is one of those regions in the country where both the demographic situation and level of socio-economic development remains far from satisfactory.”

He said it is important to discuss how to revive potential viable sick industrial units so as to put optimum use of the capital and other resources which are already employed in such enterprises. “It is also important to know from the industry experts how we can strive towards balanced economic and social development in all regions of the UT by promoting industrialization,” said Mahaldar.

Sopore Industrial Association president Javaid Ahmad Bhat, according to the press release said, “Given the unique position of the J&K, and the situation it has been in for the last 30 years, it is necessary that J&K has a separate industrial policy — a policy which is a based on the ground realities in the UT.”

He said that most of the policy making happens in the closed room environment with no connection with the actual situation and this is gravely affecting the industrial sector in J&K. He suggested that a land bank be created in the UT for the industrial sector.

Lalit Mahajan, Bari Brahmana Industrial Association president said “J&K industry, especially the MSMEs are reeling under economic distress for the past one year. There is an urgent need for incentives. If MSMEs are helped, unemployment to some extent can be arrested.”

He said that J&K borders are with Pakistan and China where no trade is possible, hence there is need to help the industry by giving special attention.

Taking up the case of the sick PSUs, Wajahat Durrani, president J&K PSUs employees said, “The PSUs in the state are in a bad condition, but they have a huge potential if right attention and help is given.”

He cited the case of the J&KSRTC, which currently had only 300 buses to cater to a population of 80 lakh people. He said that if right incentives are given, J&KSRTC can be turned around into a viable organization. He said similarly other ventures in horticulture, etc., can help in generating employment and strengthening the state economy.

Shiekh Ashiq, president of the Kashmir chapter of Chamber of Commerce and Industry said they had been raising the issues concerning the industry with the government but nothing has been happening.

“We met the Finance Minister on March 17 this year but nothing much has happened. Incentives are urgently needed for the revival of the industry in J&K. The past year has seen a lot of suffering, unemployment is growing, artisans don’t have much work, industries and MSMEs are in bad shape. A pile up of inventories has been happening,” he said.



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