The first principle step towards giving impetus to the economic growth of the state has to be be technology upgradation. In particular, putting in place an institutional mechanism and a viable revenue model for the rapid technological upgradation of the small and medium industries in J&K must receive special attention. To catalyze the efforts of technology upgradation, the Government of J&K must establish a corpus like “The Technology Upgradation Fund” of Rs. 100 Crores over a period of 5 years. The fund must be administered through a Government/ Industry partnership and its deployment dictated by the logic of the market and by industry. In particular, this fund should focus on niche products and processes in the value chain of industries in which J&K has comparative advantages and reinforce best practices in technology and business. The following specific schemes and proposals must be implemented under this scheme:
(a) Interest subsidy to SSIs who avail loan from State Financial Corp. for technology upgradation and modernization;
(b) Promoting Technology Business Accelerators with the active involvement of private sector in identified potential locations in the State. Government assistance should be in the form of providing financial assistance for creation of basic infrastructure facilities subject to a ceiling of say Rs.50 lakhs per Accelerator.
(c) To establish, over the next 5 years, at least five Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Parks [STEPs] in potential districts of the State. Government assistance should be in the form of capital grants for creating basic infrastructure facilities to the extent of 25% of the cost of each STEP subject to a specified ceiling, say of Rs.25 lakhs.
(d) To assist and encourage the private sector to establish material and product testing as well as quality assurance laboratories in different districts of the State. Government assistance for establishing such laboratories and testing centres should be in the form of capital grants of 10% of the capital cost subject to a pre-specified ceiling, say of Rs.10 lakhs per Centre; and
(e) Government must encourage the SSIs to obtain ISO 9000, ISO 14000 and similar international certification with a view to promote total quality management and best practices in SSIs. Government Assistance should be in the form of meeting 50% of the cost of obtaining such certification, subject to a pre-specified ceiling, say of Rs.75, 000 per industry.
(a) The Government of J&K must recognize that a key parameter to make local industry globally competitive is to provide industry access to high quality industrial infrastructure at competitive prices. Towards this end the Government must establish an “Infrastructure Development Fund” with an initial corpus of Rs.100 Crores. This fund will seek to leverage the strengths - technical and financial - of major private infrastructure providers through a Public-Private partnership. The common infrastructure fund should be aimed at meeting the infrastructure needs of sector specific and location specific technology parks/industrial estates/industrial areas for the focus sectors. This corpus fund would be used to kick-start investments in common industrial infrastructure, which could be accessed by the industry.
(b) In order to fulfil its goals of developing a market driven and efficient management of industrial infrastructure, govt. should establish Industrial townships in major industrial estates/areas. The Industrial Townships will provide for management of the Industrial Infrastructure by private industry associations/user groups. The Industrial Townships are expected to allow industry to manage their own assets and ensure a high order of maintenance of the basic infrastructure like roads, power, water supply, telecommunication etc. within the Industrial Estate/Industrial parks. The ill effects of bad wheather conditions that prevail in the valley during winter season, on the industrial activity due subsequent closure of the Jammu-Srinagar highway can be countered to a large extent by opening up of alternative routes like Mughal Road and Singthan-Kishtwar Road. Opening up other alternative roads for large scale trade like Muzaffarabad Road, Kargil-Skardu and Poonch-Rawalakot Road besides the traditional silk route will also alleviate the jitters of bad wheather conditions over industrial activity during winter season.
(c) Industrial Areas Development Board must be constituted that will act as a key Govt. agency to develop sector specific/location specific industry parks over the next five years. This Board may also promote the following:
i) Agro Food Processing Parks at Srinagar, Baramula, Kupwara, Budgam, Anantnag, Pulwama, Doda, Rajouri, Jammu, Udhampur and Kathua.
ii) A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in a suitable location of each division.
iv) An Export Promotion Industrial park each in Jammu and Srinagar.
v) A knowledge park each, dedicated to IT, Biotechnology and related industries near Srinagar and Jammu.
(d) In order to ensure that cost of land to the entrepreneur is not exorbitant, wherever Government land is available, the same will have to be transferred to the proposed Industrial Area Development Board (IADB) free of cost so that this could be used as a cushion to reduce the price of land acquired and developed by IADB for allotment to entrepreneurs;
(e) Govt. will have to take steps to ensure uninterrupted and quality power to the Industrial sector by establishing dedicated sub-stations of adequate capacity in all major Industrial Areas/Estates over the next five years; and
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
a) Developing a large skill/knowledge based workforce is fundamental to a self-sustaining industrial sector. Recognising this imperative, the Govt. must, with the active participation of Industry, revitalise the network of Artisan Training Institutes, the District/Industrial Training Institutes and Polytechnics to upgrade the quality and skill of manpower employed by SSIs. This effort should receive impetus from industry and established academic institutions of the state.
(b) As part of the initiative to promote a strong entrepreneurial base, the Government will have to strengthen the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of J&K. The objective will be to utilise the creative capabilities of the local people particularly in less industrialised areas. EDI must be encouraged to collaborate with recognised National/International organisations involved in Entrepreneurship Development. Government of J&K must seek to develop EDI into a Centre of excellence in Entrepreneurship Development, Business Management and Training.
(c) In order to encourage micro enterprises in rural and backward areas the Government of J&K must chalk down a suitable programme of establishing Rural Development and Self-Employment Training Institutes in all Districts of the State. The Management of these institutions should be largely through private initiative to meet the needs of local industry.