Ankita Sharma :
Since the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A in 2019, the UT of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a tremendous upsurge in public welfare and economic development. In what was widely hailed as a political masterstroke and a historic landmark, India’s jeweled crown shattered the decades-old shackles of extremism and violence that had marred its development and unleashed a new era of reforms and progress.
The Government of India remains committed to upholding the safety and security of the people while fostering new avenues of growth, employment and investments in Jammu and Kashmir. The sectors in focus are education, health, tourism, energy, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises
(MSMEs) and handicrafts. Through an enhanced focus on reigniting the region’s industrial potential, the aim is to boost employment opportunities for youth and provide a conducive environment for business and entrepreneurship.
In this context, the development of industrial infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir has become a primary endeavor of the government. Over 51 industrial estates have been established and many more are in the process of being developed across the UT. Employment has received a fillip through small scale industrial units that are operational in the UT, while medium and large industrial units are receiving support.
Structured interventions and evidence-based strategies are being adopted to accelerate industrial growth and boost investor confidence.The Jammu and Kashmir Industrial Policy, 2016, is applicable to all industrial units in the growth centers approved for the Jammu and Kashmir. Funds worth INR 275.19 Cr have been allocated to the region under ‘Package-I and Package-II for Special Category State of J&K’ by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. Additionally, for FY 2020-21, INR 40.04 Cr has been allocated under Package-II.
Through the Industrial Development Scheme (IDS) for Jammu and Kashmir, 2017, the efforts are also in place to strengthen the manufacturing and services sectors, including biotechnology and hydel power generation units up to 10 MW capacity in the region. Since its inception in 2017, 87 applications have been registered on the IDS portal. Additionally, the scheme also envisaged four components, namely, Goods and Services Tax(GST) reimbursement, income tax reimbursement, transport incentive and employment incentive, with an additional outlay of INR 15.5 Cr up to 2019-20. Between April 2014 to March 2020 INR 376.80 Cr worth of funds have been allocated under the GST Budgetary Support Scheme, and INR 54.26 Cr have been earmarked for FY 2020-21.
In order to facilitate the process of industrialization in hilly, remote and inaccessible areas, transport incentive is also being provided to the UT under the Transport Subsidy Scheme (TSS). Under this,all eligible industrial units can avail incentive on transportation of only finished goods through railways or the railway public sector undertakings, inland waterways, or scheduled airlines for a period of five years. Although, the Freight Subsidy Scheme (FSS), has been discontinued from 2016, yet the industrial units registered under it are eligible for the benefits of the scheme.
In July this year, the Empowered Committee for ‘Sanctioning of High-Value Central Capital Investment Subsidy cases on Plant and Machinery under Special Package of Industrial Incentives for Jammu and Kashmir’ approved nine high-value projects pertaining to plant and machinery of the industrial units of Jammu, Samba and Kathua, amounting to over INR 15 Cr.
Capitalizing on the gains made so far, the Government of India will soon unveil a new policy to supplement the ongoing industrial development efforts and initiatives in the UT. This will be aimed at simplifying the processes involved and strengthen the Industrial Eco-System in Jammu and Kashmir. The scheme will serve as a catalyst to attract new investments while nurturing existing investments in the UT. According to reports, there are 25,735 MSMEs registered in Jammu and Kashmir with over INR 8,200 Cr investment. At the same time, there are 64 large scale units in the region with INR 12,146 Cr worth of investment.
The Union government is also focused on promoting peace and stability in the region through economic growth. In this spirit, the Jammu and Kashmir Startup India Yatra was held in 2018 by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Tade (DPIIT) and Startup India, which featured 10 bootcamps and 20 van stops in 18 districts of the erstwhile state. Through the Startup India Yatra, more than 140 entrepreneurs received incubation offers and 20 startups received cash prizes. The Startup Jammu and Kashmir website has also been recently integrated with the Startup India website to ease the recognition process for startups in the newly formed UT.
Having curtailed violence and separatism with an iron hand in Jammu and Kashmir, the Government of India is now lending a healing touch with an emphasis on public welfare and social opportunities for the youth. The seeds of peace and development are being nurtured by economic growth, capital and investments, with a focus on social inclusion. As India’s jeweled crown, peace, stability and prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir remain the top priority of the Government of India. The coming years will see the flowers of entrepreneurship and employment bloom in the Valley, with people at the forefront.
The author is the Editor-in-chief of Invest India magazine and Sr policy and advocacy specialist at Invest India