Srinagar: The Narendra Modi cabinet is all set to introduce a new industrial policy for Jammu and Kashmir to boost the region’s economy by developing industries and bringing in big-time investments to the union territory in the next two years, top sources in the UT administration told ThePrint.
The policy has been drafted in consultation with the UT administration headed by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and officials say that the Union Cabinet is set to approve it shortly. They government aims to bring in investments worth Rs 30,000-35,000 crore in Jammu and Kashmir in the next two years, they said. Subsidies offered to investors under the new policy will be linked with the progress of the project on the ground, said officials. It will also address issues such as sale of land and regulations regarding rent, lease or tenancy of properties.
Sources said representatives of top industrialists, including the Ambanis, Tata group and Hinduja Group, have had key meetings with senior administration officials, and works on some projects have already begun.
These projects include two skill development training centres — in Baramulla and Jammu, which is an initiative of the Tata group. Similarly, Ashok Leyland, a Hinduja Group company, is partnering with the UT administration to provide semi-commercial vehicles at subsidised rates and through Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana in J&K to boost employment and entrepreneurship.
While the investments will be used to develop all economic sectors of J&K, a special push will be given to the region’s horticulture industry, said sources.
About 33 lakh people or 7 lakh families in the UT are directly or indirectly engaged in the fruit trade, which forms a major part of J&K’s horticulture sector.
In view of the demand for more power, Union Power Minister will visit J&K on January 3 to sign MoUs with the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation for projects to generate over 3000 MW additional power. L-G Manoj Sinha has declared that J&K will become power surplus by 2024.
Stock exchange BSE Ltd in November signed four MoUs with the J&K government to spread financial awareness, support economic development and encourage sustainable livelihood of the youth of the region.
In October, the government signed a pact with online retailer Flipkart to showcase and facilitate local artisans and craftsmen to reach customers across the globe.
Saffron produced in Kashmir was also given the GI tag in July this year to put the Valley’s unique product on the global map.
Over 6,000 acres of state land across J&K will be used to house the new industries, of which 3,000 acres have already been acquired from the UT’s revenue department, the sources added.
In Kashmir, the government has begun the process of developing over 500 acres of state land as an incentive to attract potential investors from the rest of the country and the world.
“Development works on the 500 acre transferred land, which is located at different locations in the Valley’s 10 districts, has begun with the J&K government now installing chain link fencing to demarcate the area that it intends to develop,” said a senior government official, who didn’t wish to be named.
The works also include checking the lands feasibility, “estimation” and “clearing it of illegal structures”, said sources.
The 6,000 acres of government land, which the administration intends to develop for potential investors, will either be rented out, leased or sold to potential investors across the globe, depending on the provisions of the new industrial policy, as ThePrint reported on 29 January 2020.
The developed land will be allocated across various sectors, including food processing, education, information technology, animal husbandry, among others.
Sources said the government has already signed MoUs with over 25 private companies that deal in various business sectors such as plywood, hotels, hospitals, control atmosphere (CA) stores, wool and so on. The projects are worth Rs 1,000 crore.
Seeking interest from outside
Officials said total investments received by the J&K government’s Directorate of Industries and Commerce so far included those made by local businesses.
“But now we are making progress. A lot of investors have shown interest in doing business in J&K. Once the industrial policy comes, the discussion we have been having with potential investors will move at a more rapid pace,” said the official.
In October, heads of over two dozen Indian corporate houses visited the Valley as part of an outreach initiative for the youth, officials added.
A key feature of the policy, according to sources, will be establishment of two zones — A and B. While Zone A will be within municipal limits, Zone B will fall outside the city limits. The incentives to be given for industries in Zone A will be higher than Zone B.