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Small, medium towns of J&K to play important role in creating economic activities: Jitendra Singh

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New Delhi: Union minister Jitendra Singh on Friday said small and medium towns of Jammu and Kashmir will play an important role in creating economic activities, particularly in the processing of agro-produce, the weaving industry and development of IT services.

These towns will also operate as service centres for the rural hinterland, Singh said, addressing an orientation programme on urban governance for the mayors, municipal chairpersons and municipal executive officers of the urban local bodies (ULBs) from the Kashmir division of Jammu and Kashmir.

Interacting with the participants, the minister said the elected leaders and officers from the ULBs will work as a team to address local concerns.

He also suggested them to work for more effective communication with the community to adapt modern technology on solid waste management, solar energy, sewage treatment and conservation of natural environment in their towns.

The Union minister of state for personnel said Jammu and Kashmir is undergoing a process of rapid economic growth, wherein the ULBs play an important role to enable the growth of manufacturing and services with suitable development of the municipal infrastructure.

“Small and medium towns of Jammu and Kashmir will play an important role to create economic activities, particularly in the areas of processing agro-produce, weaving industry and development of IT services,” Singh said.

States with an above-average level of urbanisation have a much higher per capita income than states with a low level of urbanisation such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha etc, he added.

The states from Gujarat up to Tamil Nadu have either achieved the 50-per cent mark (Tamil Nadu) or are closer to the urban majority, he said.

Singh, a Lok Sabha member from Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur constituency, underlined that the Union Territory had municipal elections after a long gap in 2019 and right now, “we are in the process of strengthening the ULBs with functions and powers”.

He said it is expected that by 2047, when the country achieves 100 years of independence, the states will have a common agenda to achieve jobs and income for the vast population in the rural areas.

“This means growth of urban areas as engines of economic growth as we have seen in the western parts of our country, from Gujarat to Tamil Nadu,” Singh said.

In this regard, Jammu and Kashmir had 27 per cent urban population in 2011 and it poses a challenge to move towards the halfway mark of urbanisation, which means more attention on and investment in economic activities, he added.

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