Published On: Mon, Aug 29th, 2016

Industry on Crutches 

While the New Industrial Policy 2016 offers a new framework to address the problems of industrial development in Jammu and Kashmir, the state government must also evolve a monitoring mechanism to ensure that the vision document is implemented in total, Bilal Hussain writes.

Industries

The new Industrial Policy-2016 aimed at ten years from now encompasses many initiatives that normally should be part of any policy, which should be considered as half job done. However, the challenge that Jammu and Kashmir faces is the implementation of these strategic decisions. Most won’t disagree that non-serious approach by the concerned departments and agencies is the main reason for the failure of these vision papers.

Over the years, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has crafted and drafted many such policies for lots of sectors. However, the lack of monitoring and control mechanism on a regular basis on ground renders them to uselessness. The present industrial policy could go a long way, provided the inclusion of monitoring and control mechanism is laid down in the strategic document.

What has to be transformed is the way the government departments function in the state as the result of which the industrial sector has suffered in Jammu and Kashmir. The state officials at the helm of affairs have to rethink and work on fixing responsibilities in the concerned departments and then expect the desired results, according to the new policy.

Another tragic arrangement that mars the industries in the region is the inter-departmental functioning in the Industries and Commerce Department of the state.  The Industries and Commerce Department of Jammu and Kashmir came into existence in 1970 with four Directorates, eight Corporations and four training institutes. The Directorates are Directorate of Industries and Commerce, Directorate of Handicrafts Development Department, Directorate of Handloom Development Department and Directorate of Geology and Mining.

The Directorate of Industries and Commerce was further bifurcated in 2007 into two Directorates i.e one for Jammu Division and other for Kashmir Division. The corporations/Boards are SIDCO, SICOP, J&K Handicrafts (S&E) Corporation, J&K Handloom Development Corporation, J&K Cement Ltd, J&K Minerals ltd., J&K Industries, J&K Khadi & Village Industry Board. The training institutes are Craft Development Institute, Indian Institute of Carpet Technology, J&K Entrepreneurship Development Institute, School of Designs. The policymakers have to ensure that the concerned departments work cohesively in order to make the new policy successful on the ground. Else, like other vision documents, it will meet the same fate.

Besides non-seriousness, lack of monitoring and control mechanism, improper implementation and missing cohesion among the concerned departments, what astonishes anyone is the manner in which the policy targets are set like, ‘To increase the share of manufacturing, services and trade sector in Gross State Domestic Product’. The document misses to mention by how much percentile?

Likewise, to attract an investment of at least Rs 2,000 crore per annum in the industrial sector, including services, and creation of 15,000 direct and indirect job openings, the policy document misses on how it will be achieved and why Rs 2,000 crore and 15,000 jobs only or why not to settle with lesser number and what is the basis for such calculations? It will be hard to digest but the fact is that the policymakers have to learn, to be honest, and truthful with figures and they should be convinced with what they are talking about, not merely to fill blanks with the magic numbers which then never sees the light of day and fool around the commoners.

Agreed that the state of Jammu and Kashmir has come a long way over the last decades now. However, still, much has to be achieved. I am not being cynical or pessimist. However, over the years, I have learnt that the society and the state at large can only be developed when a proper foundation is laid in the system and the system is to be followed by one and all. And the leaders have to lead by examples.

 

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