Jammu, May 24 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir believes overhauling its sagging industry is the only way to revive the ailing state through development and job creation. An industrial policy complete with an incentive package is being worked out to attract entrepreneurs from all over the country.
'Our government will shortly be formulating a policy to promote industry in the state, which can boost the state's economy and address the problem of unemployment,' state Industries and Commerce Minister Surjit Singh Salathia told IANS in an interview.
'We will take steps to instil faith among entrepreneurs and earn their trust. Since government jobs are not possible for everyone, industrialisation is the only way out.'
The minister cited the withdrawal of the industrial incentives and concessions package announced by the central government for the state in 2002, four years before its 10-year validity period expired, as a reason for falling investor confidence.
'The move surely shattered the confidence of the industrial sector and we are working to restore it,' he said.
In this connection, Salathia said the government would bring in legislation and an industrial policy in the coming assembly session aimed at 'not only restoring but building the confidence of entrepreneurs'.
'The legislation will also include a self-employment policy,' he said.
Maintaining that things were looking up, Salathia referred to the upcoming 45-acre textile park in Kathua where some 3,000 jobs are expected to be created, and said various companies have shown an interest in setting up units there.
'A number of big industrial houses want to start units in Jammu and Kashmir and we are ready to give any assistance they need,' he said.
The minister said he was personally supervising the registration of new units to ensure the process did not take more than a week, and added: 'There are strict instructions in this regard and a complaint redressal centre has been created.'
Salathia said providing industry with land and electricity is a priority area. Apart from this, he said, banks have been asked to meet loan disbursement targets for entrepreneurs.
The government was also looking at holding an 'industries carnival' and training the unemployed to hone their entrepreneurial skills.
'A training programme will ensure that we do not have to bring in skilled manpower from outside the state. The aim is not only to create employment but also employability as put forth by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.'
Salathia also said the government wanted to cap manpower coming from outside the state to 10 percent of its total workforce.
Endorsing the initiative, local entrepreneurs said the need of the hour was an industry-friendly atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir 'that is lacking at the moment'.
'The earlier industrial package had definitely wooed a number of entrepreneurs and industry houses, but when it was withdrawn, the confidence was shattered and many units closed down,' said Ram Sahai of the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
(Binoo Joshi can be contacted at email@example.com)
Read More: Kathua