The Industrial Sector in J&K Lags Behind Significantly

The Industrial Sector in J&K Lags Behind Significantly
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By SHAH KHALID

In Jammu and Kashmir, large and small scale industries are in doldrums, because of official negligence, bureaucratic delay, corruption, as well as poor infrastructure, which is equally responsible for the decline in manufacturing. According to local print media reports, Jammu and Kashmir has 86 large and small-scale industries, which provide employment to near about 19000 people. After the assessment by World Bank and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on the “ease of doing business” in different states of India, Jammu and Kashmir is ranked on 29th position.
The state administration, in the past had taken various initiatives regarding the upliftment of the industrial sector, but all the tall claims have fallen flat. The leading corporate units nowadays are in limbo. Some years ago, a large number of corporate units had been widened-up by the state administration, it had completely failed to bear their expenses. The leading ones of these units like J&K Minerals, Government Joinery Mills, J&K Ply and Board Industries, Hindustan Machine Times (HMT) had been completely widened-up by the administration. The irony is that, the state’s leading Public Sector Undertaking unit, which was sometimes state’s backbone of economy “The Jammu & Kashmir Cements LTD” which was fully occupied and abuzz with industrial activities, had completely snap down its industrial operations .
The State Industrial Corporation (SICOP) runs 24 industrial units in the state, but the land is only available for one industrial unit in South Kashmir’s Anantnag District. This kind of gross negligence by the state authorities has led to closure of such financially sound units, as now there are not any takers from outside the state, who are keen to invest in J&K bound industries. By the closure of such leading units, the unemployment ratio is rising sharply, on account of which a large number of educated youths from Management and Engineering background had left the state, to earn their livelihood. Besides this, the transport and logistics are in limbotoo
The state administration, in the past , had taken various decisions regarding the generation of private industrial units in the state to invoke the self-employment scenario, but still no comprehensive policy had been ruled out by state legislatures. While opting for opening an industrial unit, there is a cumbersome procedure of getting the permission from authorities. The state has a large number of industrial estates, but now it seems that all the land had been initially occupied by blue eyed persons. Last year , the former PDP-BJP led coalition Government had given a nod for opening various industrial estates to budding entrepreneurs, but still no developmental work has been carried out.
The industrial output in J&K has shrunk to large extent, as there are no adequate marketing facilities especially outside the state and are not export-driven even so, as there are only few units which are doing well. The administration is fully aware of such deteriorating situation of such industrial estates in Jammu and Kashmir. But, the opinion of officials is limited. The state industrial policy has completely failed to driven any positive output by which our industrial sector has taken a back seat.
On the electricity front, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is still lagging behind in meeting domestic and commercial requirements of electricity, coupled with high transmission and business losses. The J&K state’s electricity sector is a developing market. For years, the matter of balancing the state’s supply against the demand for electricity had remained a largely unresolved matter. Jammu and Kashmir is faced with significant challenges in revamping its network meant for the supply of electricity, including lack of efficiency, rising demands for energy, and political instability.
Provincial and federal agencies, who are the largest consumers, often do not pay their bills. At one point electricity generation had shrunk by up to 50% due to an over-reliance on fossil fuels, by which the state government is under criticism for privatizing this sector.
The state administration must recognize the fact that the economic stagnation on the industrial front in Jammu and Kashmir cannot be only attributed to law and order problems alone. It must take forward looking steps so that unemployment can be eradicated quickly through rapid industrialization.

The author can be reached at: peerzadakhalid1545@gmail.com