Soon after revoking of Article 370 from Jammu & Kashmir, trade bodies and corporate sector have swung into action to make the first ever Investors’ Summit in Srinagar from 12-14 October, a grand success. The summit is being organised with an aim to attract investments in the region in the changed situation in the region.
The state department of industry and commerce is holding the event in association with leading trade body Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). A source said that several corporate houses like the ITC, Tata Group, Suzlon Energy, Mahindra Agrotech, Ultra Tech Cement and Radisson Hotels have been approached so far to participate in the grand event, besides several medium and small scale industries. In fact, there is more stress on medium and small scale industries than the big companies.
Besides, the organisers are planning to hold road shows and interactions with officials and investors from countries of Middle East, Malyasia and Singapore to attract investment in the region. The event is being supported by the Centre.
Sources said that President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior Union Ministers, too, have been requested to attend the mega event. The State Administrative Council (SAC), which met under the chairmanship of J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik, recently accorded sanction to the holding of the summit. The opening ceremony will be held in Srinagar, followed by the closing ceremony at Jammu.
A CII official told The Sunday Guardian that his organisation was working with the local administration there for ensuring faster development in this region. CII, he said, has recommended a ten-point policy agenda for growth of the region, relating to sustainable industrial growth, a better investment climate and boosting specific sectors such as tourism, infrastructure and connectivity, agriculture and horticulture, and renewable energy, among others.
“Jammu & Kashmir is an area of strong potential for development as it enjoys a range of natural resources and immense talent. The region’s per capita Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) at Rs 63,995 stands at about 55% of the national average, and agriculture accounts for 80% of the output. Strong efforts from the government and industry, including local businesses, are the need of the hour to raise its growth rate and create new opportunities for employment and livelihoods,” said Uday Kotak, president designate of the CII in a statement.
“Strengthening MSME, improving access to finance, and elevating education and skill development will be central to the progress of the hard-working people of the region. With the recent significant changes, investments and land purchases for industrial and social development shall be possible, as we look forward to economic prosperity,” he said.
On the other hand, another trade body Assocham has announced setting up a regional office in Jammu & Kashmir. According to an Assocham official, the restructuring of Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories would weave them more intricately with the national fabric.
He said the bold step taken by the Centre would open up the flow of investments into sectors like tourism, real estate, handicrafts, horticulture and food processing, among others, adding that its multiplier effect would enhance employment opportunities and contribute to India’s all-round prosperity.
Another trade body Ficci has said that it will support and bolster all initiatives taken by the government for the industrial development of the two UTs and will also play a major role in channelizing fresh investments in J&K and Ladakh. “We have been supporting the industries there and are committed to its industrial growth. We expect the fresh move will lead to greater stability and improved governance in the region, which will support fresh investments,” Sandip Somany, president Ficci, said.
A Ficci official said the organisation, which already has an office in Srinagar, is working to promote areas like tourism, food processing and skill development in J&K and the Chamber will not only enhance the level of activities in these areas going ahead, but also expand its domain to new sectors which are looking at openings there.
Sources said the government believes that the change in Jammu & Kashmir’s status will encourage private sector investment in the new Union Territories. “Till now, provisions of Articles 370 and 35A had prevented business houses from purchasing land and hiring skilled manpower in the state. The change in administrative status will have a positive impact on ease of doing business as it would give industry ownership of establishments and will encourage hiring,” a source said.