JKEDI discriminating against Kashmiri entrepreneurs: JKPM

Srinagar, May 8: JKPM leader and Supreme Court Advocate Syed Iqbal Tahir Wednesday alleged that Jammu & Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI) is discriminating against the Kashmir entrepreneurs.
Elaborating on this issue, he stated that after a lot of fanfare Government of J&K had launched an entrepreneurship promotion scheme under the name and style of Youth Start Up Loan Scheme. JKEDI was appointed as the implementing agency for this purpose under the overall supervision of Labour & Employment Department, Government of Jammu and Kashmir. Under the scheme, the projects with an investment upto Rs. 12.00 lac for 10+2, Rs. 15.00 lacs for graduates, Rs. 18.00 lacs for post graduates and Rs. 20.00 lacs for Professional/Technical Graduates will be considered for financing with 90% project cost as loan component and 10% as beneficiary contribution. The objective of the Scheme was to help young startup entrepreneurs initiate and sustain their business activities so that they can develop an initial experience set and business track record that will help them later access the financial capital needed to grow their businesses through the commercial banking sector.
As per the Scheme only those candidates shall be entertained who are already registered with the concerned DECCs. A Screening Committee comprising of Director, JKEDI as the Chairman with representatives from J&K Bank Limited was tasked with the responsibility of the selection of the candidates. The selected candidates have to undergo mandatory training at JKEDI for a minimum period of two weeks, to build the capacities of the selected candidates both in managerial as well as technical fields. The selected beneficiaries are required to complete various formalities including furnish a guarantee form a government employee/ bank, hypothecation of assets, investing their own contribution in the first phase.
However despite completing the necessary training and completion of all formalities, a group of 250 entrepreneurs have been running from pillar to post for the last 8 months as JKEDI is not releasing the loan amount promised under the scheme. This is despite the fact these young entrepreneurs have already made a personal investment of several lakhs. While JKEDI has been regularly releasing funds in favour of Jammu based entrepreneurs, they have turned a blind eye towards young Kashmiri entrepreneurs. Syed Iqbal Tahir castigated JKEDI for playing with the lives of these young entrepreneurs and that of their families. He regretted that while the previous governments have failed to provide adequate employment to educated youth of the state, now JKEDI is hell bent on wasting all business opportunities that may exist for the youth who are already alienated & frustrated with the prevailing system for variety of reasons.
He demanded that JKEDI must release the funds without any further delay, else JKPM will take up the matter with higher authorities including the Central Ministry of Commerce & Industries. He assured the young entrepreneurs that JKPM is committed to the interests of youth of the state.