Entrepreneurship: Kashmir way!

The government schemes to enhance entrepreneurship are myopic

SHEIKH FAYAZ AHMAD

Entrepreneurship is considered as the cornerstone of any modern day economy. Without, entrepreneurs (innovators), the present dominant economic system (capitalism) certainly will collapse. Fuelled by innovations (both technological and non-technological), entrepreneurs directly contribute to the overall production of goods and thus increase productivity at various levels. It was Adam Smith who first realized the role of entrepreneurs in the economic system in 1776, when he argued in the ‘Wealth of Nations’ that as markets grew, entrepreneurship would lead to innovation which would lead to an increasing division of labor and increased productivity. After Smith, many other economists and innovation theorists delineated the roles of entrepreneurs and innovators. However, the question I am interested in here is that who is this ‘entrepreneur’? What special traits or qualities does he/she possess? And, more importantly how Edison or James Watt (top entrepreneurs/innovators) are similar to our “would be entrepreneurs or innovators” in Kashmir? This article more precisely highlights the callous disregard shown to our entrepreneurs in Kashmir. And, also examines some government crafted policies which declare our creative, innovative and proactive people as addled brains, who can’t think nor can create new things.
There are many scholars who have explained entrepreneurship and have discussed in detail the traits an individual entrepreneur carries. But, most of them uphold the opinion that creativity, risk taking, proactivity and innovativeness are some basic requirements or characteristic features of entrepreneurs.
Unfortunately, in Kashmir such traits or entrepreneurial qualities are scarcely recognized; creative and innovative potential of an individual is instead ridiculed, as a result of which our talented Edisons die unsung and unheard. Precisely so, the government policies are crafted for blue eyed ‘citizens’ who are born to loot the state exchequer. To put it more appropriately, most state policies are crafted considering the requirements of the ‘rich’.
Look at one such policy, ‘Sher-e Kashmir Employment and Welfare Programme for the Youth (SKEWPY) launched by Government of Jammu & Kashmir with the main objective ‘to motivate, train and facilitate educated youth to take up entrepreneurship as a career option and create employment opportunities not only for themselves but also for others’. This much touted scheme is being implemented by Jammu & Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (J&KEDI) set up in 1997. Now look for whom SKEWPY scheme is targeted, graduates  will get maximum 3 lac rupees as seed money, postgraduates (maximum 5 lac) and professionals like doctors, engineers and technicians (maximum 7.5 lac) provided they give in writing that they won’t take any other government benefits. This scheme thus excludes all those millions of artisans, innovators and small farmers who posses all the entrepreneurial traits and have brilliantly demonstrated their creative skills in the informal sector but are less educated (mostly ‘illiterate’).
Edison, the most prolific innovator in history, holding 1,093 patents went to school for three months only, James Watt joined university as a mechanic and was a school dropout. Similarly, thousands of examples of great entrepreneurs are well documented who were either school dropouts or never went to school. But, in our case, it is reverse. Education is ‘must’ for innovation and entrepreneurship. These qualifications set by J&K government for entrepreneurs are totally flawed, defective and reflects the myopic and naive understanding of our policy makers. We have a good chunk of innovative farmers, artisans and mechanics who like Edison are bad with school type of education and posses all entrepreneurial qualities but are kept deliberately out from such govt. favors. Why?  Is it because they are farmers, not corrupt, not blue eyed, not linked to any political nexus or they are subalterns and have no elitist background. One can explore many hidden designs behind such schemes, which are drafted, crafted and targeted for a particular section of society.

The author is a full time Researcher at the Center for Studies in Science Policy, JNU, New Delhi and can be reached at fayazjustinternational@gmail.com

Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 7 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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