Trade and Industry have a very crucial role to play in our economy. Their present contribution to GSDP is 28.29%. The government intends to exploit raw materials located in the backward regions by promoting local industry through clusters of industrial units in identified thrust areas like food processing, textiles, leather processing, handicrafts, handlooms, minerals, Information Technology and many others.
A new shelf of techno-economic feasibility reports shall be prepared for this purpose and Special Purpose Vehicles shall be created to implement such cluster schemes.
Land measuring 500 kanals has been earmarked for Leather Zone in Industrial Growth Centre, Lassipora. A Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) is under construction under the guidance of Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) at a cost of Rs.642 lacs with 50% funding by Government of India. The CETP is expected to be completed by March, 2010.
Two Textile Parks in the private sector are coming up at Ghatti and Govindsar in Kathua district over 240 kanals of land with investment of Rs.337 crore, for 56 number of units expected to generate direct employment for 4000 persons to be engaged in spinning, weaving, processing, garmenting and ancillary activities as also indirect employment to another 4000 persons.
Two clusters of cricket bat units and wood based industry are being promoted at Sangam and Bagh-i-Ali Mardan khan respectively. A silk-cum-textile park is being promoted at Zakoora.
Rejuvenating the existing Industrial units is as necessary as creation of new units. In this behalf, the government proposes to create two special rehabilitation task forces for revival of sick units on fast track basis. The Industrial Estates lying closed shall be reactivated and their dilapidated infrastructure shall be upgraded. Efforts are being made to spot additional 20,000 kanals of waste-land for creation of a land bank for new industrial units, particularly in the backward areas. Efforts are also being made to locate a big chunk of waste land where a special industrial zone can be created.
The Directorate of Geology and Mining which has become defunct is being re-activated to prospect, explore and identify new mineral deposits of the State.
The viable economic units of the public sector undertakings shall be revived. The uneconomic units shall be closed down and the staff given another opportunity to avail of Golden Handshake Scheme.
The trade and industry have been highlighting their problems connected with compliance of various procedures, processes and regulations. In order to attend to such issues on a continuous basis, I propose to create a standing forum in the form of an inter-ministerial group of officers in association with all Stake holders. The Forum will look into the desirability of dispensing with some of the mandatory inspections, filing of returns and other connected matters faced by them under various laws, including barriers in free movement of raw materials and trade goods. The Forum shall devise procedural and IT Solutions to such problems. I hope that this mechanism will go a long way in improving the trade and manufacturing environment in the State.
Handicrafts are our valuable legacy. We shall take all necessary measures to save and sustain our handicrafts, particularly carpets, especially during the period of global recession.
One Time settlement scheme of the State Financial Corporation:
The State Financial Corporation (SFC) had offered One Time Settlement Scheme (OTSS) to provide relief and exit to the loanees who became defaulters from time to time due to various extraneous and valid reasons. It was expected that all the defaulters would take advantage of these offers. However, the experience has shown that every time such OTSS was introduced, not everybody came forward to take advantage of the offer and after the closure of the schemes, new demands for fresh OTS schemes have been raised. It is difficult to entertain such demands repeatedly as frequent resort to OTS schemes becomes counter productive.
However, in order to accommodate fresh demands from the industry including Transport and Tourism sector, in the aftermath of prolonged agitations of the last summer, I announce a last time OTSS by the SFC which shall be notified very soon, after completion of formalities and after obtaining approval of its Board of Directors. My announcement may be taken as an advance notice to all such loanees who are keen to avail of this last opportunity and they should keep themselves in a state of readiness. Personally, I feel that a six months time period shall suffice for completion of the task after the proposed last OTSS is notified by the SFC.
Tourism is one of the important revenue earners for people in the State. Though the Industry has suffered due to off and on law and order problems, there are definite signs of its revival. The government proposes to conduct a break-even analysis of activities in various sectors of tourism industry. This will help the government in approaching the private sector players in the field of insurance to develop and launch an investment insurance scheme so that the Tourism Industry is protected against temporary set backs and uncertainties faced during every tourist season.
The government is proceeding ahead with its plan to prepare a vision document and a Master Plan for sustainable tourism in the long terms perspective. Offers stand already invited from the prospective consultants for the purpose and the same are under examination by a Committee constituted in this behalf. In the meanwhile, the policy of private Sector investment in all fields of Tourism, including promotion of guest-house facilities, with the government playing the role of promoter and facilitator, shall continue. The Hotel industry has already been given tax relief on hotel tariff.