In a significant step to boost women entrepreneurship in the State, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, Thursday ordered the conversion of Jammu Haat into an exclusive ‘Women Business Centre’.
For this, she directed I&C Department to prepare a ‘Business Plan’ within the next two months so that brass tacks are done to establish the Centre, which she said is ideally located in the heart of the winter capital.
The Chief Minister said this while taking a detailed briefing of the Industries & Commerce Department, in the Civil Secretariat, Jammu today.
Minister for I&C, Chander Parkash, Minister of State for Haj & Auqaf, PHE, I&FC and I&C, Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi, Chief Secretary, B. R. Sharma, Financial Commissioner, Planning & Monitoring, B. B. Vyas and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Navin K. Chaudhar and Commissioner Secretary Industries and Commerce, Shailendra Kumar attended the meeting.
Assuring all help to MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector in the state, the Chief Minister linked big investments with creation of job opportunities for trained human resource, with special focus on entrepreneurial opportunities for women. She hoped the new State Industrial Policy will facilitate ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and give new direction in making J&K an investor-friendly destination.
“We need to evolve a mechanism where high-end investors and business houses train our skilled manpower as per their requirement. Their DPRs should reflect the kind of skilled workforce they need,” she said, tasking the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) to map the skills which are required by the investors setting up their units in the state.
The Chief Minister was informed that the I&C Department is targeting an annual investment of Rs.2000 crore, thus creating employment opportunities for at least 15000 local youth every year. Some of the big companies scheduled to venture into J&K include Blue Star, ITC, Dabur, Ever-Ready, besides Chenab Textile Mills, which is expanding its existing unit within an investment of Rs.1200 crore.
The Chief Minister asked I&C Department to facilitate credit flow to young local entrepreneurs in the state. “Our focus should be on our own budding entrepreneurs as much as it should be on big investors,” she added.
To build investor confidence, Mehbooba Mufti instructed the department to ease bottlenecks in clearances of cases for which more services like land allotment, power availability certificate and NoCs from PCB have to be brought within the ambit of Public Services Guarantee Act. She also emphasized on clearance of incentive cases of business entrepreneurs in a hassle-free manner.
Appreciating the concern raised by the Chief Minister, I&C Secretary said the new Industrial Policy has flagged single window clearance mechanism as its USP.
With government’s nod to shift from barter to banking system for cross-LoC trade, the Chief Minister ordered fast-tracking of creation of additional infrastructure at Salamabad in Uri and Chakan da Bagh in Poonch, the two trading and travel points across the LoC.
Handing out an assurance, I&C Secretary said work will commence in May next month and full-body scanners will be installed at both the trading points within the next 12 to 18 months.
On the issue of rehabilitation of sick units, the Chief Minister was informed that not much headway has been made as the component of interest subvention was not incorporated in the soft loan scheme. I&C Secretary said an Assets Reconstruction Company has been proposed with a corpus of Rs.15 crore which can target revival of 50 per cent of sick units.
On being asked about the status of upcoming Leather Processing Centre at IGC Lassipora, I&C Secretary said that after signing of MoU, DPR have been framed and the work on the common facility centre is presently going on. The Centre, he said, will become functional in the next nine months.
Inviting suggestions on promoting industrial sector in Ladakh, the Chief Minister advised the department to focus on handloom, handicrafts and food precessing sectors which are area-specific to the region.
I&C Secretary briefed the meeting that a Pashmina Project worth Rs.50 crore has already been sanctioned.
On promotion of fabled handicraft and handloom products in Kashmir valley, the I&C Secretary apprised the Chief Minister about the Modern Carpet Loom Scheme on a 80:20 sharing basis between the Centre and the State. Under the scheme, he said 8000 looms will be distributed amongst the weavers to boost sales and quality of products.
The Chief Minister stressed upon introduction of new designs, branding and price tagging of the products so that the threat posed by fake products sold under brand Kashmir name is nullified. She asked I&C Secretary to involve CDI and IICT in capacity building of young artisans, vested with the task of keeping the famed craft alive.
The Chief Minister also passed directions for devising a revival plan for the Silk Factory at Solina, which she said is a heritage treasure trove. She was also apprised about the e-commerce model that I&C Department is jointly working on with online retailers to expand the market base of the world-famous handicraft and handloom products. The online retailers will be dovetailed with Handloom and Handicrafts Corporations facilitating better returns for the artisans.
The I&C Department is targeting registration of 1500 artisans on e-market to boost their sales.
On the poor financial health of I&C PSUs like JK Cements, JK Minerals and JKI, Mehbooba Mufti advised the department to take all possible steps in making them viable for broadening the scope of their activities.
She was informed that after initial slowdown, there has been uptick in JKCL with its production going up to 750 MTD, enabling it to target a turnover of Rs.150 crore. Another unit of the company has become functional at Samba with installed capacity of 300 MTD.
On JKML, I&C Secretary informed the meeting that Parlanka Gypsum mine will start production shortly while as the possibility of a joint venture for sapphire mine at Padder is being explored after the requisite environment clearance is obtained.
On making gypsum mine at Uri functional, the meeting was informed that MoEF (Ministry of Environment & Forest) has framed a state-level committee to fast-track ECs, which will pave way for major and minor mineral exploration through private and government agencies.
Dwelling at length on the role of SIDCO and SICOP in creating right kind of business environment in the state, the Chief Minister said all IEs and IGCs should reverberate with industrial activity. He appreciated the I&C Minister for taking effective steps in retrieving land from those unit-holders who did not take any steps in making their units functional.
The Chief Minister was also briefed about the need to create a land bank for setting up more industrial estates in the state. Land Bank, I&C Secretary said is state’s equity as liberal funding is received from Centre for creation of common facilities in Parks, IEs and IGCs.
Also present in the meeting were Director I&C, Kashmir, Nazim Zai Khan, Director I&C, Jammu, R. S. Tara, Director Handloom, Rajesh Sharma, Director Handicrafts, Gazzanfar Ali, Director EDI, M. I. Parray, CEO, KVIB, Mir Afroz, MDs of various PSUs.