Meaningful Silence

Given development’s link to industry, political parties had been surprisingly silent, in their campaigns as well as manifestos, on the fate of the almost-moribund Jammu and Kashmir Industries Limited (JKIL), supposed to have been the state’s spearhead in organised and sustainable utilization of local raw material and resources. The silence is understandable in view of how development figures in mindscapes seeking to take the state over.

Incorporated as a Government Undertaking in 1963, the JKIL had begun with 15 units, set up for textile, resin, leather goods, wool, and joinery production, but has now reduced to a mere four (nine units have been closed down and two have been designated as ‘non-functional’), with losses to the tune of Rs 18 crore.

According to available data, its production has fallen from Rs 21.24 crore in 2000-01 and Rs 33.45 crore in 2002-03 to Rs 11.73 crore in 2012-13, taking another marked plunge in the current financial year, to as low as Rs 9.28 crore.

Similarly, its sales volume, of the order of Rs.17.22 crore in 2001-02 and subsequent years, have declined sharply to Rs 3.64 crore in 2008-09 and Rs 2.63 crore in 2010-11.
In addition to failures in production and sales, it is also plagued by surplus staff, low productivity, obsolete and worn-out machinery and equipment, and lack of technical staff. Since the Valley has been put in a state of high anticipation with respect to progress and development, it would be natural to expect that the gubernatorial dispensation in charge today takes serious steps to revive it.