'Kashmir gets no substantial investments post August 2019'

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A year after the central government scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir claiming it to be an “impediment” to outside investment in the erstwhile state, no ‘substantial’ investment in the industrial sector has come to Kashmir.

The much hyped Global Investors Summit which had generated Expression of Interests (EOIs) of Rs 23,000 crore from around 66 outside companies had to be put on hold amid pandemic COVID19.  Earlier too in October last year, this summit was postponed due to the situation at the time.

According to figures of Industries and Commerce Department, it is the local investors who have shown interest in industrial sector in Kashmir which has seen lockdown and uncertainty since August 2019 when the special status of J&K was stripped and the state was divided into two union territories of J&K and Ladakh.

The figures reveal that after revocation of Article 370 in Kashmir, local investors have made Rs 900 crore investment,  while outside investments are nil.

“It is an encouraging sign that despite the tough situation for the local businesses post August 2019, local investors have invested Rs 900 crore in the industrial sector. However, no outside investor has made any investment in Kashmir region,” said a senior Industries department official wishing anonymity.

“In Kashmir, we have to encourage local investors. Unlike other places, it is very difficult for people to run units in this region given the political instability. We have seen people talk a lot about investment, but so far no substantial investment has come to Kashmir,” he added.

Rs 40,000 crore losses

“Kashmir has been virtually under lockdown since August 2019 when the special status of J&K was diluted. We had miniscule number of working days after 2019 which was followed by lockdown due to Coronavirus scare which is still in force. As a consequence of these events our economy has incurred a loss of Rs 40,000 crore so far and it is yet not known how much quantum of losses would further increase in future,” said president KCCI, Sheikh Ashiq.

New government jobs

Exactly 23 days after Article 370 was scrapped, the former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik announced that 50,000 jobs would be made available for the youth in the next three months. “It will be the largest recruitment drive in Jammu & Kashmir,” the governor had said, addressing a press conference flanked by the top officials.

The governor also said that the Centre will soon make a ‘big’ announcement on Jammu and Kashmir.

A year on, J&K administration has been able to advertise only Class IV jobs which have drawn huge response depicting the bulging unemployment rate in J&K.

Development scenario

In 5 years, out of 54 identified projects under Prime Minister’s Development package, only 17 have been “completed or substantially completed”.

Though the central government blamed Article 370 for ‘developmental deficit’ in Jammu and Kashmir, yet the two big ticket developmental projects in Kashmir (All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Ring Road) have not witnessed any progress in nearly a year after dilution of special status.