SAC approves J&K’s first ever trade, export policy

The State Administrative Council on Thursday approved the first ever trade and export policy for Jammu and Kashmir which will be followed for the next ten years, officials said.
SAC approves J&K’s first ever trade, export policy
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The State Administrative Council on Thursday approved the first ever trade and export policy for Jammu and Kashmir which will be followed for the next ten years, officials said.

The J&K Trade and Export Policy 2018-28 was approved after the Industries and Commerce Department put a Draft Trade, Export Policy in the public domain for feedback from industry players.

The policy aims to "transform the state from being supply constrained to a competitive export-led entity". 

"The policy has been framed in a manner that the state becomes responsive to enhanced domestic 

integration and wider participation in national and global economy in tune with the national policies," the policy paper states. 

The policy framework reflects dynamics of Jammu and Kashmir as an agrarian economy in transaction towards a market-driven one, and says the government will encourage use of Information Technology by all concerned agencies to enable the trading community to gradually move towards modernisation, providing virtual showrooms at household levels, IT application and digital transactions. 

"If required, it will collaborate with the J&K Bank for promotion of its Point of Sale (PoS) service to the retailers."

The policy, officials claim, is geared to enhance the domestic trade volume of the state by five times from the existing levels in next ten years.  

"The policy encourages, promotes and facilitates more investment in enterprises for building a strong, responsive and vibrant business environment in the state," Principle Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Shailendra Kumar told Greater Kashmir.

"Recognizing the significant role of distribution of goods and services in generation of employment, the government will endeavor to increase the share of trade and commerce in GDP by at least 3% in next five years and to add to per capita income of the state."

The trade policy also envisages to raise efficiency and widening linkages in domestic production and building a diversified competitive export sector as the means of stimulating higher rates of growth and development.

"It aims to provide employment opportunities to the educated unemployed and skilled youth in the field of trade and commerce by concerted human resource and skill development interventions."

According to Kumar, J&K's export remains too heavily focused on primary commodities and its share of total trade in India remains low, despite numerous economic measures and domestic market liberalisation. 

"Therefore, as per the policy there is a need to identify cumbersome and non-transparent state border administration, particularly import-export procedure," Kumar said.  

The policy envisages for promotion products like basmati rice from Jammu division, and saffron, handicrafts, handloom products and horticulture produce from Kashmir division. 

"In consultation with the Regional Authority of Director General of Foreign Trade, Carpet Export Promotion Council, etc these focus products and sectors shall be recommended for various export incentives given by the Government of India from time to time," the policy documents reads.

The policy recognises issues concerning services exports which are connected to work permits and visa, rationalisation of taxes, simplification of rules of temporary stay and social security contribution issues for short term workers. 

"However, all these issues fall under the domain of Union Government and are being dealt at that level," the policy document reads.

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