Kashmir’s socio-economic condition is entangled with unstable socio-political and socio-economic dilemmas. Although, many government regimes have offered protection/subsidy policies and made ample efforts to enhance entrepreneurial activities but all such hard work do not bring the desired outcome as instable political condition cause a major hindrance in executing strategies. Besides law and order condition and political instability, there are further dilemmas which are bigger and more extensive.
Fostering entrepreneurship is not only vital for promoting Kashmir’s competitiveness but also imperative for a journey to prosperity for the underprivileged. Entrepreneurship development has the potential to create jobs through the formation of new business ventures; utilization of available labour and resources to create wealth, stimulate growth, and boost the economy.
Government has a practical role to play in providing an overall environment that facilitates people in identifying and developing entrepreneurial qualities in them. Overall environment includes financial assistance policies and schemes, establishment of entrepreneurship innovative centres to let entrepreneurs grow. Supporting policies of government not only assist entrepreneurs in generating revenues for the government but also helps in combating with the unemployment in the state.
State does not have a Policy Framework to promote entrepreneurship. The challenges of promoting entrepreneurship and innovation are cumbersome government regulations, limited financing options for start-ups, low levels of education, (entrepreneurial skills) poor perception about entrepreneurship as it is equated with small business in selected areas only. Besides, entrepreneurship is not encouraged as a career option for young graduates in our society. People in the Kashmiri culture are conditioned to attach the stigma of failure to the self starters or beginners.
If the state’s economy is to be developed and the state has to tag it-self as a state of entrepreneurial intellect, urgent and stringent measures need to be taken. Some of which are recommended as under:
1. The current government should devise strategy to channelize interest free loans through institutions of higher business education in public universities which have separate entrepreneurship development departments. At this level innovative ideas should be supported with such loans.
2. At the same time, other colleges should be helped and encouraged in introducing entrepreneurship programmes at the master’s level. Secondly, the government should target both rural and urban comparatively less educated but deserving youngsters through the scholarship based short-term courses with the help of vocational institutes. Interest free loans at this level can be distributed on the basis of the performance of the individual candidate and the recommendation of institute.
Bilal Ahmad Dar is working on a project on youth entrepreneurship and education in conflict areas at Kashmir University