Srinagar: The apex industrial Chambers, Federation of Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) and Federation of Industries Jammu (FOIJ) have demanded the rejuvenation of existing industrial enterprises for a substantial reduction in the growing unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir.
A joint statement said the existing industry was currently in deep distress but possessed the potential to provide employment to 500 thousands of employees on rejuvenation.
This was stated by members of the two organisations in their joint meeting with the Commissioner-Secretary Industries and Commerce Department Vikramjit Singh.
The heads and members of the two organisations who participated in the meeting included Shahid Kamili, Tejwant Singh Reen, Shakeel Qalander, Lalit Mahajan, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Meraj Ahmad Qureshi and Zahoor Ahmad Bhat. This was the first meeting after the two organisations had signed an MOU for mutual cooperation and coordination.
While hailing the vision behind the formulation and approval of the Industrial Development Scheme of Rs 28,400 crore for Jammu and Kashmir with the main objective of creating jobs and developing skills, the delegation observed that the process of generating new employment opportunities was likely to take time till the industrialization proposals under the new scheme were implemented on the ground.
However, the government is required to put simultaneous emphasis on job creation through already existing enterprises having tremendous potential to generate employment in the short run, stated the delegation.
“The infrastructure valuing thousands of crores rupees in the shape of buildings and Plant and Machinery existed on the ground both in the organised and unorganised sector across Jammu and Kashmir which currently was being meagerly utilized owing to slew of problems faced by existing enterprises,” intimated the delegation, adding that all the existing infrastructure could be put to its optimum utility if measures to assess and address these problems were taken by concerned authorities in the government.
While assuring the Commissioner-Secretary of absorbing up to 500 thousand employees in the rejuvenated existing industrial units of the Union Territory within the shortest period of time, the delegation solicited his support and recommendation for protection, expansion, diversification, modernization, revival and rehabilitation suited to individual units for operationalizing the existing industrial sector to its optimum capacity and potential.
The delegation discussed the shaken viability of the existing industry in the aftermath of the withdrawal of VAT exemption, abolishing of toll and entry tax, and withdrawal of price and purchase preference coupled with post-COVID market volatility which had forced the enterprises to make retrenchments over past few years.
While explaining the plight of local units which had been hit hard by the changed procurement policy by the government, the delegation demanded a suitable mechanism for protecting and incentivizing local industrial units in competition with their counterparts on government e-Marketplace (GeM).
“How can an enterprise of J&K compete with its counterparts from industrially advanced states when the latter enjoyed a bunch of advantages like zero inventory maintaining, cheap labour, multiple working shifts, smooth communication, huge market etc. over them” observed the members.
The delegation also demanded for the arrangement of funds for the disbursement of the committed 3% “turnover incentive” under the policy and as per the claims submitted. Any curtailment of funding this account would not auger well with the industrial community and be likely to shake the confidence of entrepreneurs further on Government policies and commitments, the delegation conveyed.
The delegation also sought clarification on the disbursement of SGST refund by Commercial Taxes in respect of units having undertaken substantial expansion and additional lines of activity.
The Commissioner-Secretary while giving a positive response to all the points put forth in the meeting for discussion asked the delegation for submission of a comprehensive paper substantiating their suggestions and demands for the rejuvenation of the existing industrial sector.
He said such a paper could be examined and deliberated further at his level before making recommendations to the concerned authorities. He assured that the government was keen to nurture the existing industry along with new industry for overall economic development and employment generation in the region, the statement said.