Industrialising Jammu and Kashmir
The Jammu and Kashmir government last week handed over a cheque of Rs 250 crore to Jammu and Kashmir Bank as the second instalment of 5 per cent Interest Subvention under Economic Package, as Covid-19 relief for the business sector.
Till date, around 3.41 lakh small and big business establishments have availed the benefits of the Interest Subvention. Highlighting the initiatives taken by the government for bringing reforms in the economic sector in J&K, the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said that an amount to the tune of Rs 264 crore was disbursed as financial assistance to 16,800 youth identified to become entrepreneurs under the Back to Village and My Town My Pride programmes, and termed the initiative as Bank’s home delivery of services to the aspiring entrepreneurs. He observed that investors from across the globe are eyeing Jammu and Kashmir as their preferred investment destination. The LG added that Rs 28,400 crore New Industrial Development Scheme will certainly boost the morale of entrepreneurs and investors. The LG added that in the healthcare sector all efforts would be made to bring the big players in the sector to the UT.
The Jammu and Kashmir government last week launched Livelihood Generation Training Program in Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) Sector envisaged under the MoU signed between Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and Mission Youth, J&K. Under the MoU, the training programme is aimed to re-skill and up-skill the youth for sustainable job opportunities through a multi-pronged strategy involving all necessary systematic interventions. The event was addressed by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha who termed the event as historic for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir. The other present at the event included Chief Business Officer, SBI Mutual Fund DP Singh; MD and CEO, BSE Ltd Ashish Kumar Chauhan; MD and CEO, BSEI Ltd, Ambarish Datta, Advisor to LG Farooq Khan and CEO Mission Youth J&K Dr Syed Abid Rasheed Shah.
The bidding of players for Burzhama Premier League (BPL) season-4 was held last week in which about 1020 players participated through online and offline auction, including the players from adjoining states of Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana. The championship is likely to commence from May this year and all arrangements have been made for making the event a success. The sports event is being organized under the aegis of district administration Srinagar with the purpose of the event being to boost the local talent by providing the exposure to national level talent. Additional Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Syed Hanief Balkh was the chief guest on the auction. The event was attended by Chairman BPL Muzaffer Dar, DDI PR Kashmir M Aslam Khan, Peer Bilal and Dr G M Rather and other social activists.
Uplifting Labour Force
The Jammu and Kashmir government has finalized the Jammu and Kashmir Rules for Labour Codes last week which will help in overall upliftment of the workforce in the entire Union Territory. These codes will bring the labour sector in the region at par with the rest of the country and will increase the wages among workforce along with improving the ease of doing business. The codes would devolve more powers in implementing agencies to penalise private institutions and other job providers who underpay their workers and employees. The new codes also mandate gratuity even if a worker has been employed for one day only. Jammu and Kashmir is the first to formulate and notify these draft rules than the rest of the country. Pertinently, the Central Government has combined 29 existing labour laws and reorganised them into four codes; Code on Wages, 2019; Industrial Relations Code, 2020; Social Security Code, 2020 and Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020. Numerous highlights of these codes include fixation of a nationwide minimum wage by the Centre, bonus calculation and payment, payment of gratuity on pro-rata basis, the prohibition of lay-offs and social security for formal and informal workers. The meeting was presided by Commissioner Secretary Labour and Employment Saurabh Bhagat.
Conserving Water Bodies
The Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam last week chaired a high-level meeting to review the initiatives for conservation of diverse water bodies in Jammu and Kashmir. Approximately 3800 water bodies including ponds and lakes have been identified across the Union Territory for conservation and efforts are afoot for their preservation, protection and rejuvenation. The government has directed the Forest Department to intensify the conservation efforts toward geo-tagging of water bodies, restoration of the ecological balance of marine ecosystems, testing the water quality in such areas, grading the water bodies on monitoring parameters for effective follow-ups, and putting in place a district-level grievance redressal mechanism. The meeting under Chief Secretary also reviewed the status of District Environment Plans prepared under the guidance of the National Green Tribunal. The District Environment Plan Committees were directed to review respective plans and convey modifications, if any by March 2021, to be incorporated in the UT Plan before further submission to the Central Pollution Control Board. They were also asked to upload a copy of respective plans on the official web portals for information of the wider public. The administrative secretaries of the departments of Revenue, Housing & Urban Development, Forest, Ecology & Environment, besides Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Chairman, J&K Water Resources Regulatory Authority, Chairman, Pollution Control Board, Director, Department of Ecology, Environment & Remote Sensing among others participated in the meeting.
The Jammu and Kashmir government took a detailed assessment of traditional as well as modern ways in which forest department provides services to the people dependent on forest resources, including Protection of Forests & Forest Land, Scientific management of forests, Afforestation and allied activities for ecological restoration, meeting local requirements of timber, firewood, fodder and other forest produce, Wildlife conservation in forest areas outside Protected Area Network, Enforcement of various laws (Protection & Regulation), Management with the active involvement of people, Conservation and sustainable utilization of Biodiversity and Managing with the involvement of forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers. The meeting headed by Principal Secretary to LG Niteshwar Kumar directed the concerned officers to develop and promote more services for tourists like Forest Rest Houses, eateries, and other amenities to generate revenue and promote the beautiful forests of J&K. A review proposal for Soil and Water conservation works in Kandi areas of Jammu region involving Panchayats was also discussed in which the Principal Secretary directed the concerned officers to take the Deputy Commissioners of the concerned districts onboard and hold planning and discussion for the development of Kandi area under MGNREGA and similar other rural development schemes. The chair was also informed about the Target & Achievements under CAPEX Budget 2020-21, besides Monitoring & Evaluation of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management & Planning Authority (CAMPA) works, Green J&K Drive 2020-21, and Digital Services being provided to the people by the department. Commissioner Secretary Forest, Ecology, and Environment department Sarita Chauhan briefed the meeting about the training and awareness programs held on implementation of Forest Rights Act 2006 with the constitution of Sub Division and District level committees and implementation of Biological Diversity Act, 2002.