Saturday, February 7, 2009


In one of my recent posts I have at length discussed various measures needed to be taken by the government of Jammu and Kashmir in order to tackle the monster of unemployment. Today I will elaborate upon the various points that I have enumerated therein. Once again I wish to reiterate that it is not possible to solve the problem of unemployment merely by inducting our huge armies of jobless youth into the government service. That will be just a cosmetic treatment to the problem. After a couple of years or so, we shall be faced with the same problem again with even greater magnitude and manifestations. For a long-lasting solution to this long-standing problem, an overall economic development of the state is of utmost importance and that can be achieved through sustained industrial and entrepreneurship development.

These days news regarding implementation of sixth pay commission is hogging the limelight in print as well as mass electronic media of the state. Only a few days back a highly level committee, constituted for the purpose by the new govt. had a meeting with the Planning Commission of India where the said commission is reported to have bluntly refused to give money on this count and asked the state govt. to generate its own resources. Moot question is wherefrom the state will generate its resources when it already has a debt burden of Rs. 13000 crores inherited from the previous regime clubbed with a meagre total income of Rs. 26,700 crores, out of which Rs. 5000 crores alone go to the govt. employees as their monthly wages.

Resources can be generated only through sustained economic development achieved through robust industrial development of the state. This cannot be achieved overnight. For this to happen, state govt. has to chalk out policies and procedures for the next five years, by means of which an economic growth rate of 7% to 9% can be achieved by promoting the rapid growth of a market driven, knowledge based, efficient and competitive industrial sector. This can be done by providing industry access to high quality infrastructure, extending institutional support for technology upgradation, deregulating the business environment for an efficient, proactive and transparent administrative framework and catalysing the entrepreneurial as well as creative capabilities of the human resources. State government should therefore aim to achieve an average industrial growth rate of around 10% per year and attract investments of at least Rs.10,000 Crores per year and create, on an average, employment potential of at least 1.0 lakh per year.
In achieving this goal, the focus will have to be on the following OBJECTIVES:
a) Encourage rapid growth of sectors and markets in which J&K has strategic advantages.
b) Enhance value addition in products and processes through rapid technological upgradation.
c) Enable optimal utilisation of capacity and resources in different sectors viz., Hydroelectricity, Food Processing, Floriculture, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Minerals and Human capital.
d) Enable industry to access new markets – domestic, national and export - through new products that meet global standards of quality and competitiveness.
e) Give impetus to knowledge based industries like Information Technology, Biotechnology, Electronics & Communication, Medical Engineering etc and the service sector.
f) Create a market driven environment with the private sector being the primary engine for growth.
g) Provide Industry access to high quality infrastructure, including uninterrupted power and water supply, good roads, adequate transportation facilities, telecommunication facilities, subsidies, incentives, heavy discounts on loans, excite duty waivers, other duty cuts, raw materials (wherever essential) etc.
h) Fully tap the potential of the Small Scale Sector and encourage establishment of new tiny and Small Scale Industries, particularly in the rural areas with the help of establishments like Khadi & Village Board to achieve the twin objectives of employment generation and utilisation of local resources. Again provide heavy discounts on loans, duty cuts, subsidies and attractive incentives to the budding entrepreneurs.

Towards this end government must undertake, through an expert group, a detailed study of the small scale industrial sector in the state to ascertain their present status; problems and prospects and come out with a separate policy on employment generation in the industrial sector which among other things would also include a suitable incentive scheme linked to employment generation. This study may be completed in another six months’ time

In order to achieve these objectives the following strategy will have to be adopted:
a) Forge a strong partnership with the private sector in all aspects of Industrial development
and its implementation to provide for a demand driven decision making process in an increasingly market oriented economy.
b) Create a policy framework to facilitate competitiveness of local industry and enabling ease
of doing business.
c) Enhance public and private expenditure to build efficient and competitive Industrial
d) Give impetus to technology upgradation by forging symbiotic and mutually beneficial
institutional arrangements between Government, Academic/R&D Institutions and Industry.
e) Focus on catalyzing comparative advantages that J&K has in the global market by increasing
its exports in handicrafts including carpets, shawls, paper machie items, wood carving items etc, floriculture, medicinal and aromatic plants, food processing, electronics and communication, gem stones and minerals.
f) Assist the tiny, small and medium scale industries to upgrade their technologies and
manufacturing processes to face the increasing competition; and
g) Radical restructuring of the State Public Sector undertakings as well as Government infrastructure agencies and Financial Institutions by promoting private sector initiative in these activities.

In my next post I shall discuss in detail various specific necessary measures needed for infrastructural development, technology upgradation and human resource development of the state that are pivotal for a sustained growth of our industrial sector as well as our overall economy. Good bye till then...........


  1. Roadmap is quite comprehensive, excellent.But the pre-requisitie for any industrial activity in any state is peace. When there is agitation at a stretch for three or four months like what happened sometime back in Kashmir, no business house would stay put, nobody goes fishing in troubled waters you see. No corporate house could ever tolerate such huge losses incurred on account of continued inactivity for months together. It is important for any domestic or multinational companies to ensure that an atmosphere of peace and amity exists where they plan to invest their hard earned money. It sounds sarcastic that you people want freedom and investment by corporate houses simultaneously. First you make up your mind whether you people want development or freedom from India since both cannot go hand in hand together. Can your government or your hurriyat for that matter, guarentee safety, security, peace and above all uninterrupted activity to the potential investors? The situation suddenly turns so fluid that even labourers are forced to leave the valley not to talk of investors. What is your answer to these predicaments?

  2. @Anonymous
    Thanks for appreciation. You have raised a very pertinent query. However I don’t agree with your assertion that the development and demand for freedom cannot go hand in hand. Best example to substantiate my viewpoint on that is that of the state of Punjab which remained strife torn for over a decade but that did not hamper or dampen its pace for progress and economic/industrial development. It kept marching ahead despite all odds and is today counted among one of the most developed states of the Union of India.

    If Indians really consider Kashmir as an inseparable part of their Union and do not use their rhetoric of “Atoot Ang philosophy” merely to silence the international community, then I believe, they should not shy away from investing into Kashmir. Otherwise set us free, we will manage our development on our own by hook or by crook. Basic amenities, progress and development cannot be held hostage to India’s stubborn attitude towards Kashmir issue. Our employees work and therefore deserve their wages and similarly our unemployed youth deserve suitable placement because they are ready to work. You cannot hold us captive and halt our growth too. When India decides to hold on to our territory and use its resources like water to its own selfish ends, it owes a moral and legal obligation to let us keep pace in tune with changing times and provide all kinds of assistance necessary to achieve that goal.

    So far as your argument regarding frequent strikes, agitation and an atmosphere of uncertainty is concerned, I would say that majority of the high-thinking, responsible Kashmiris do not endorse or support uncivilized strategies for achieving freedom like stone-throwing, frequent strike calls, emotional sloganeering, senseless violence, militancy, killing humiliating or harassing minorities or driving them out of the valley. Therefore incidents like these by a handful of illiterate, misled, uncivilized miscreants must not be used as an excuse for keeping Kashmir underdeveloped economically and industrially. Lately separatist parties have also realized the adverse effects of giving frequent strike calls and hampering day to day activity of the region. I believe they too are thinking of alternate means and methods that are sans any ill effects on the already crippled economy of the common masses. Majority of people are for achieving our goal through civilized and peaceful means. As such peace should not be a hindrance in our growth and progress.

  3. @Anonymous
    Peace will come only when India leaves its ego and stubbornness. You cannot achieve peace through subjugation. You cannot also deprive Kashmiris of their right to live like normal human beings. Development will never come as long as Kashmiris are not made a party to that process. Imported East India Company Officers have a different tasks at hand in Kashmir. They are more interested in to keep Indian Flag hoisted over Kashmir by hook or by crook and nothing more than that.