Top industrial 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 the growing unemployment in the union territory.

Organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Peace Forum, the webinar presented a grounds report of the situation in the UT. Union Finance Minister Sitharaman said that the Centre was keen to listen and understand the ground situation as that helped in formulating policies. She said, “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 she had met the new J&K Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha who also spoke about greater support and more resources for the UT.

While commencing the interaction, the J&K Peace Forum chairman, Satish Mahaldar said, “The primary objective of the meeting was to primarily 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.”

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 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 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 ground report based 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 industry sector in J&K. He suggested that a land bank be created in the UT for the industrial sector as a lot of land existed which can be put to good use.

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 the 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 frontier organization. He said similarly other ventures in horticulture, etc can help in generating employment and strengthening the state economy.

Mr Ashiq Shiekh , 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. He said, “We met the Finance Minister on March 17 this year but nothing much has happened.” He said he hoped that as the Unlocks were happening now, things will be improved.  He said, “Incentives were 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.”

Top industry bodies of Kashmir have expressed their willingness to help in the economic development of the distressed Kashmiri Pandit Migrant community.

During a webinar with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday, several leaders of the J&K industry bodies said they are ready to help the community.

The industry sought incentives and J&K specific industrial policy. During the discussion, J&K PSU employees president Wajahat Durrani stressed upon the need to help the sick PSUs. He said, “PSUs have been playing a vital role in the state’s economy. It is important that they be revitalized for generating employment to the unemployed youth. Kashmiri Pandit migrants can be given jobs in the PSUs. They want to return to their homeland but when they see the unemployment and no opportunities for the youth, they get deterred. It is important that the industries in J&K be given importance and a due revitalization package for the youth from all communities to get jobs.”

Mohammad Ashikh Shekh,  president of the Kashmir chapter of Chamber of Commerce and Industry  said,”If the Kashmiri Pandits are willing to set up MSME industry or otherwise, we are ready to support them and will also provide them employment opportunities subject the state and central govt supports them.

Satish Mahaldar,  said in the webinar that it was important for the Centre to provide incentives to the industry and special concessions to the Migrant Kashmir Pandit youth to set up businesses. He said, “Generating employment in the valley can greatly help the youth to return to their roots.”

He said that the industry leaders in the valley had expressed willingness to help the youth in economic development.

Satish Mahaldar

Chairman

Jammun & Kashmir Peace Forum

HP 9818099625

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