SRINAGAR: Nearly ten thousand enterprises have been established across the State, under different government schemes for entrepreneurs – including the State Government-sponsored Seed Capital Fund and Youth Start-up Loan schemes and the Central Government-sponsored Himayat Self-Employment and Term Lone schemes – implemented through the Jammu & Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI) through its three Regional Centres and presence in all 22 districts in the State.
Under the Seed Capital Fund Scheme (SCFS), some 13,500 candidates have been trained and about 4500 units (in different ventures across a range of sectors) have been established (at a total Seed Capital of Rs 233 crore) against about 7000 cases approved, generating employment for some 24,000 people, whereas under the Youth Start-up Loan Scheme (YSLS), almost 1100 units have been established (at a total loan of Rs 71 crore) against about 1200 cases approved, generating employment for some 3000 people.
The main objective of the SCFS – which includes an incentive in the form of non-refundable Seed Money in addition to training and consultancy offered through Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDPs) run by JKEDI – is to motivate, train and facilitate a large segment of educated youth to take up entrepreneurship as a career option, envisioning creation of a class of first generation entrepreneurs who will then create job opportunities for others. Investing in various core areas of the economy to optimally exploit the resources is another objective of the scheme.
Under it, Seed Money up to Rs 7.5 lakh coupled with bank finance at concessional rates is provided to eligible youth for setting up their enterprises – with the upper limit being relaxable up to Rs 10 lakh for group initiatives.
The YSLS, on the other hand, is an off-bank credit facility up to a maximum of Rs 8 lakh at 6% simple interest for young start-up entrepreneurs. While its objectives are in tandem with that of the SCFS, its focus is easy availability of credit facility in the form of soft loans to start-up entrepreneurs.
Under it, projects with an investment of up to Rs 8.00 lakh are considered for financing with 90% project cost as loan component and 10% as beneficiary contribution.
Both these schemes are components of the government’s landmark economic empowerment initiative the Sher-e-Kashmir Employment Welfare Programme for Youth (SKEWPY).
Similarly, under the Central Government-sponsored Himayat Self-Employment (HSES) and Term Lone (TLS) schemes (sponsored by the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) and the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MMA) respectively), about 4000 units (in services, manufacturing and agro-allied sectors) in aggregate have been established (at a total loan of Rs 116 crore), generating employment for some 7200 people.
The JKEDI has combined the two schemes, leading to an arrangement wherein the training is provided under the HSES and the financial linkage under the TLS.
In its evaluation of the SCFS in 2014-15, the J&K Directorate General of Economics and Statistics revealed that almost 84% of the units established under the scheme were functional on the ground and another 4% were in the process of establishment. The aggregate success rate makes for the highest performance at international level. Various evaluations conducted with regard to the YSLS and TLS have also shown increased rates of success in performance.
Since 2015, the JKEDI also conducted some 270 EDPs in which around 11,000 candidates have been trained. During this period, while some 1750 units have been set up under the SCFS and about 650 cases disbursed under the YSLS, almost 2500 cases have been disbursed under the GoI-sponsored TLS.
To facilitate greater participation of women, separate centres for women entrepreneurship are being established in both Kashmir and Jammu divisions. While the Jammu centre has started operations from a makeshift arrangement at Jammu Haat since May this year, the Kashmir centre will be made operational from the premises of the Directorate of Industries and Commerce at Residency Road in Srinagar.
Minister for Industries and Commerce, Chander Prakash Ganga, has said that the Industries and Commerce (I&C) Department as its administrative department is committed to JKEDI’s efforts towards development of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture in the State and making entrepreneurship amongst the mainstays of the State economy.