Govt working on incentives to promote industrial development in J&K: Goyal

The government is working on several incentives and steps to promote industrial development in the Jammu and Kashmir region, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday.

“The government is working on significant incentives and steps to promote industrial development. It will give a boost to investor sentiment in the region,” he said here at KASHMIRONOMICS CONCLAVE 2019.

The minister said companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Dubai are keen to explore business opportunities in this region. “I am sure more and more people would like to set up industries and invest in that region,” he said.

He said huge investment potential is there in sectors such as hydropower, pharmaceuticals, tourism and food. “You will hear more in the days to come and in the budget to come,” Goyal said.

The government, he said, is planning to set up inland container depots and grant geographical indication (GI) tags to some local products such as apricot and Sea buckthorn plant, which is a multipurpose shrubs species in Ladakh cold desert. This plant has the capacity to tolerate harsh weather and temperature in the range of (-) 40 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius.

A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory. Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.

Further, he added that there are plans to set up modern institutes and skill development centres in this region.

In the railway sector, he said a project is underway to connect Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla, which is a 272-km long rail link. Work on 161 km is already completed and the rest is going on, he said adding that the Katra-Banihal section is also going on.

Construction of Chenab Rail Bridge, which was unfortunately got stuck because of a terrorist activity, work has now started for that. “It will be the highest bridge in the world and we are hopeful that having declared it as a supercritical project, we will be able to complete it in a defined timeline,” Goyal said. He added that the rail ministry has completed location survey of the 475-km Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line, which is an “expensive” rail link.

Speaking at the function, Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said there is potential to make this region a hub for handmade carpets. She said markets that are vacated by China can be tapped by these two Union Territories (UTs).

She said opportunity is there because China is moving out from the handmade carpets segment and now that the segment is looking for new opportunities to invest in this region. “India is producing 60 per cent of manmade carpets in the world. Can this region become hub for that carpets,” she said. Healthcare and education hold huge potential for investors in this region, she added.

The minister said that as there are eight languages spoken in this region, one can look at media and infotainment segments for developing local content. Irani, who is also the Minister for Women and Child Development, said the ministry has decided to establish chairs in universities and colleges in the name of women who have played key role in the development of the country.

She said Lal Ded chair for spiritualism is now going to be financially and academically backed by the ministry in conjunction with UGC under the aegis of the human resource development ministry. Lal Ded is Kashmir’s best-known spiritual and literary figure.