The Mehbooba Mufti led PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir is making efforts to bring the Centre’s flagship skill development programme to the state and adapt it to suit the regional socio-economic climate, while also working to create an “ease of doing business” for young entrepreneurs. The Chief Minister arrived in New Delhi on Thursday to meet relevant officials in the Ministry of Skill Development and prepare a road-map for floating skill development initiatives and training centres in J&K.
A senior official in Mufti’s special team to support young entrepreneurs told this newspaper that the CM has been holding one-on-one interactions with young people in Jammu and Kashmir, who have a demonstrated ability to float start-up business houses in the state. A detailed blue-print is being prepared to “understand their problems” and “create ventures that would enable business”.
“There are specific plans for skill development and our CM has left for New Delhi (on Thursday) to attend a meeting on this issue with the relevant people in the Ministry for Skill Development,” the source said, adding, “we are evolving a policy to how best to adopt the skill development programme in the state, as every place has its own requirements. We also want to tap the talent here, and in the next couple of years we hope to generate a real, skilled workforce.”
The source added that youngsters in Kashmir are increasingly assuming the role of entrepreneurs, and the PDP-BJP government is of firm belief that by providing the right platform and the right opportunities to these self-empowered individuals, along with adequate financial incentives, the state can create an army of successful young businessmen and businesswomen, who can also serve as an example to the rest of the youth to “join the mainstream”. “Across sections we have youngsters assuming the role of entrepreneurs. They are not confined to the traditional businesses like tourism or handicrafts. They are going beyond that. They are launching start-ups in the hospitality sector with chains of cafes and restaurants being opened by young business men and women. There are people including girls who are coming forward to do businesses in fashion while many others have taken innovative steps in agrarian ventures, food processing ventures and horticulture,” the source said.
One of the key initiatives of the PDP-BJP government is to hold a chain of interactive sessions with these young professionals. The underlying belief is that there should be a team of such debutante entrepreneurs, who can give first hand explanation of the problems they are facing, and help the government understand the ground realities and limitations of doing business from their perspectives.
“What we have done is we have started a series of dialogues wherein we get a group of entrepreneurs. In the last session, we got 30-40 people coming, and our CM interacted with them in the presence of several important bureaucrats, like the Commissioner of Secretary to the government for the department of industries. So we are creating an environment where everyone is there, and problems are being shared and solutions are being discussed,” the source said. Other bureaucrats present on the occasion were the Advisor to the CM, principal secretary to the chief minister and PDP youth president Waheed Parra. In these interactive sessions, the entrepreneurs listed difficulties in the allotment of land in the organised sector, uncertainty on institutional finance through banks, obtaining no objections certificates for their business ventures from various government departments as the primary roadblocks. They have also apprised the CM about the lack of support on the marketing front. In response to that, the source said, “The CM called up the concerned people to sort out the difficulties faced by these people. The telephone numbers, e-mail ids of these government officials have been shared with the business owners and we have devised strategies for better and continued communication on these issues, so that things can be taken forward.”
He added that the government is also working on creating an incubation centre for business development. A viability fund is also being created to support business start-ups.
“There will be financial initiatives but these are in the envisaging state right now. But of-course, the intent is there, and the intent is also to make it an “easy environment” for the youngsters to join in and be part of the state’s growth story.”