The hopeless and tragic ground realities have begun to change in the past few years, and Kashmir is gradually regaining its lost glory – even though a lot of challenges remain to be surmounted.
From Dubai to Dallas, people all over the world today have had the chance to bite into a delicious apple from Kashmir or its famed walnuts and enjoy the fragrant beauty of a tulip from Asia’s largest tulip garden. All because the Indian government
and Kashmiris have made exports a key fulcrum of Kashmir’s economic resurgence.
We have also engaged in finding ways of promoting Kashmir’s vast natural resource base – whether for developing land for cultivating
major fruits, modernizing horticulture practices, boosting food processing and agro-based industries or helping the floriculture industry fully bloom.
While Kashmir remains one of India′s least industrialised regions,
with a per capita income of $870 in 2016-2017 compared to the national average of $1,100, the focus in the past has also moved from earlier conversations on anti-terror operations and stone-pelting, to now talking about industrial growth.
Vast Land Banks, Small-Scale and Cottage Industries
The region’s handicrafts are famed around the world and the legendary demand for a Pashmina shawl has helped propel the traditional handicraft
sector to a large industry status – receiving priority attention of the government due to its large employment base and export potential. Other small-scale and cottage industries such as carpet weaving, silk, basketry, pottery, copper and silverware,
papier-mache, and walnut wood also have a crucial role to play in the region’s economic revival, and already provide direct employment to more than 350,000 skilled artisans.
According to Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, the Commissioner
Secretary in charge of industry, commerce and tourism, India has offered a vast bank of land along with tax breaks and insurance cover to draw businesses here and the response from domestic and global investors has been very encouraging. Earlier this year,
Reuters reported that the land bank on offer was a mind-boggling 6,000 acres – with more than 1,300 acres of it being in the scenic Kashmir valley.
While a planned Jammu and Kashmir Global Investment Summit had to
be rescheduled for next year due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are already scores of companies who have shown interest in investing in Jammu and Kashmir. “We have started the process of contacting these companies who had shown interest early this
year. Till now 70 of them have shown good interest,” said Dwivedi, who also holds the charge of managing director of J&K Trade Promotion Organisation.
Global Expressions of Interest
According to officials, the companies have shown interest in investing over $2 billion in the region in the form of 61 Expression of Interest (EOIs). Some of the sectors that these companies intend to invest in are IT, infrastructure, renewable energy,
manufacturing, hospitality, defence, skills education and tourism. The companies that have shown interest include Jackson Group, Indo American Synergy, HCH Pvt Ltd and Atmiya Fieldcon Pvt Ltd