For the past couple of years government has been saying that it is conducting an investors’ summit here so that investments pour into the Union Territory for its development, and create employment avenues for the youth. 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 the past several years now local businesses have suffered immense losses owing to the overly precarious and turbulent situation. So the question is if the local businesses are barely able to keep themselves afloat, what is in here that would motivate outsiders to come in and invest here?
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/of 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.
Same holds true for the tourism development. Tourism, look at it whichever way, is a peacetime activity. People won’t want to visit a place which is fraught with dangers of frequent disruptions, and where the visitors have to lock themselves up in hotel and motel rooms fairly early every evening. Semblance of peace and calm is a basic prerequisite for tourism activity, and so is the need for expanding both canvas and time span of leisure activities. For this government will have to not only expand the tourism-related infrastructure and activities here, but also invest in creating a vibrant tourism culture. City and the countryside are in dire need of a facelift, and this has to be brought about by efficiently attending to the civic needs.
Once all these things are in place, then only can one expect to attract investments, not only from the outsiders, but an enabling and encouraging atmosphere will also induce courage among the local business-people to put in money when they are sure about the returns on it.