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Clearance of 42 new Industrial estates set to remove J&K‘s rust-belt tag

J&K is set for a new spurt of industrial development

In a remarkable boost to industrial entrepreneurship, as many as 42 new Industrial Estates are being established in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir over 48,000 kanals of land (6,000 acres) even as the process of the merger of two corporations—The Jammu and Kashmir Small Scale Development Corporation (SICOP) and The Jammu and Kashmir State Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO)—is currently in progress.

In the erstwhile State, SIDCO was responsible for establishment and administration of big and medium industrial units while as SICOP looked after promotion of the small industrial entrepreneurship. Currently 5,294 industrial units are functioning in 67 Industrial Estates (IEs) developed by SICOP and SIDCO on 37,341 kanals of land, providing employment to 1.09 lakh people.

Now 42 new IEs are being established for which 48,301 kanals of additional land has been earmarked by the Government. Over 3300 applications have been approved with proposed investment of Rs 34,292 crore and employment potential of 1.54 lakh people.

Of the new 42 IEs, two Government of India undertakings, namely Ircon International Limited (IRCON) and National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC) will develop 19 IEs on priority and the draft of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is being finalized in this regard by the UT Government’s Department of Industries and Commerce.

According to the official documents, 5327 online applications were received on the Single Window Portal for allotment of land to set up industrial units with proposed investment of Rs 65,000 crore and employment potential for 3.12 lakh persons. Of these, 3379 applications have been approved so far with proposed investment of Rs 34,294 crore and employment potential of 1.54 lakh persons. Moreover, private investment of Rs 1539.87 crore has been grounded during the Financial Year 2022-23 (ending January 2023), out of which Rs 949.21 crore is for 552 units which have already started production and operations.

An MOU has been executed by the Government of J&K with the Government of the United Arab Emirates in Dubai for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of over Rs 500 crore for development of two IT towers and a major supermarket.

“The J&K Government is in the process of identifying 54 kanals of land for the IT towers and 100 kanals for the shopping mall with a potential of employment for 4,500 and 7500 people respectively”, says the document. It adds: “Apollo Group has also moved papers for establishment of one 250-bed hospital with proposed investment of Rs 250 crore and potential of employing 1,200 persons”.

The document further revealed that margin money of Rs 765.97 crore was disbursed during the last 4 years (2019-20 to January 2023) under Prime Minister’s Employment Guarantee Programme enabling establishment of 35,648 self-employment units which are providing employment to 3.31 lakh persons. J&K Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB) has been able to arrange margin money of Rs 78.63 crore during the last 4 years (2019-20 to January 2023) through authorised banks under Rural Employment Guarantee Programme to 2,937 units which have employed 17,622 persons.

“The artisans and weavers are availing benefit of 7% interest subvention under the Credit Card Scheme and 2,878 cases have been sponsored during 2021-22 and 2413 cases till January 2023”, reads the document. According to it, 1589 cooperatives have benefitted under the scheme Financial Support for Artisan/ Weaver Cooperatives during 2021-22 and 1982 cooperatives have availed benefit during 2022-23 (till January 2023). Moreover, handicrafts exports have increased from Rs. 563.31 crore in 2021-22 to Rs 728.99 crore during the current financial year ending January 2023.

Asserting that J&K is the country’s first UT to make on board 167 e-services of 18 departments on Single Window Platform and integrate it with National Single Window Portal of Government of India, the document has mentions that all the e-services are also integrated with Rapid Assessment System (RAS), Digilocker and National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS) portals.

“Industries & Commerce Department envisions doubling investment with emphasis on promotion of indigenous products through GI tagging in global markets in line with One District One Product (ODOP) scheme”, says the document further, adding that one lakh products of crafts are targeted to be GI certified by 2030 and 1,000 new artisan and weaver cooperatives will be registered and 14,000 cases sponsored under credit card scheme over the next 10 years.

Moreover, development of six to eight Handicraft & Handloom clusters having significant export potential is also a priority with the UT Government.

Also Read: Rs 2,000 crore Kashmir handicrafts trade gets fresh push after being ignored by NC, PDP govts