Promising Start

Zameer Ahmad

Government run institutions are rarely seen as centers of excellence in J&K. Be that in the realm of academics, healthcare, research and development or corporations running on commercial lines. Most of such institutions are either defunct or function dismally. While the reasons for degradation of these institutions are systemic, the poor quality of leadership running them is a major factor. One stark exception shining brightly in this depressing scenario is the J&K Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI).

The Institute, though established in the late nineties, existed merely as a Fixed Deposit Receipt (FDR) of a few Crore Rupees – received as a grant from the Central Government – in the files of the Industries and Commerce department till 2004 when it started its regular activities. Blessed with a dynamic leader, the institute has since then evolved into a major organization that is at the forefront of enterprise creation in the state. Given the meager resources the government allocates for development activities, it is a miracle that the institute has not only managed its own growth but has hugely contributed to provide employment generating avenues to jobless youth in the state.

The government sponsored Seed Capital Fund Scheme, being implemented by the institute, is in itself a great success story when compared to performance of other such State and Central Government sponsored schemes. Apart from this the institute has also evolved — without calling itself so — as a specialist financial institution that exclusively funds and finances start-ups through soft loans.

It was recognition of these efforts that the institute was recently adjudged as the second best organization involved in development of Micro and Small & Medium Enterprise (MSME) in India, by the leading national industry body – the ASSOCHAM. The award instituted by ASSOCHAM was sponsored by various Government of India ministries including Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, Ministry of Food Processing Industry and the National Skill Development Agency.

Given the problem of burgeoning unemployment in the state, the impact of the activities of J&K EDI may not be palpable enough, but it is a fact that the Institute has, within its limited purview, been able to create entrepreneurs all across the state. If the institute is provided a proper strategic direction and is involved in all enterprise-creation efforts of the government, it has the potential to become the most sought after address for the youth of the state. Keeping in view the sterling performance of the institute, it is imperative for the government to reorient its employment creation policies and dovetail all of them into a major initiative and keep J&K EDI at the centre of its implementation. If that be done, the institute will be in a better position to effectively manage the efforts of the government for providing self employment avenues to the jobless youth. Given the track record of the institute, it can be safely assumed that the government initiatives routed through the institute shall get more flip, and become more result oriented.

It, however, seems that the Government has still not fully realized the promise this institution holds. The case in point being the latest constitution of two committees by the state government for implementation of ‘Make in India’ a major program announced by the central government to transform India into a global manufacturing hub. The highlights and purpose of Make in India include ensuring ‘Ease of doing Business’ and creating an enabling framework for stimulating investments in manufacturing sector eliminating thereby unnecessary laws and regulations, making bureaucratic processes easier and shorter, and make government more transparent, responsive and accountable with regard to establishment of new enterprises.

The panels constituted by the state government for the program should have invariably included J&K EDI given the mandate as well as past performance of the institute. It is hoped that good sense prevails upon the government so that the institute is given a pivotal position in implementation of this ambitious program. That would go a long way in creating and fostering an enabling environment for entrepreneurship development in the state.

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Kashmir Life’s editorial policy.

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