The global perspective about Jammu and Kashmir is changing fast. Known as one of the most sought-after tourist destinations of India, it is now attracting investors’ eyeballs for all right reasons.
A delegation of over 30 CEOs from Gulf countries came to the valley in March to look for business and investment opportunities in the region. The visit was coordinated by Bal Krishen, CEO of Century Finance and who was a resident of Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda before relocating to Dubai.
The Union Territory expects over Rs 70,000 crore investment in the next six months. There are members from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi; also people from Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia visited the Union Territory, J&K’s Principal Secretary Industries and Commerce, Ranjan Prakash Thakur, said.
The visit took place a month after India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a free trade agreement. Jammu and Kashmir’s Lt Governor had recently visited the UAE and invited individuals and corporates to invest in the Union Territory.
There were around 12 Indian-origin businessmen also as part of the delegation. Krishen promised investment of $100 million in the region to build three hotels and one commercial-cum-residential complex in the Union Territory. He is hopeful that these upcoming projects will create 700 direct jobs and several indirect jobs.
In an interview to News18 Krishen said: “It is a commitment from my side and my group that we are going to invest this amount in J&K. We are going to build three hotels and one residential complex there. When Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha was in Dubai, he interacted with a lot of groups, individuals, corporate groups and institutions as he invited everyone. I think that every individual and corporate house should participate in the development of Jammu and Kashmir and even the Union Territory should work towards making it a favourite (investment) destination of the world.”
Krishen, who himself is from Doda, said: “I am attached to my native place and my district in Jammu and Kashmir. Almost everyone feels the same. My first hotel, I would prefer in Doda, second hotel in Jammu and third in Kashmir. And these will be star-rated hotels.
“Keeping in mind the Covid situation, we would be doing the groundbreaking by the end of this quarter, or the beginning of the second quarter. Hopefully, we will finish all projects in less than three years. These three hotels and residential complex will generate more than 700 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs.”
“I think this is the right time to invest in the UT, we should not wait for the government to do everything. Every individual in the corporate house, as per their experience and expertise, should participate in the development of Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Sinha, during the meeting with the CEOs assured them of their redressal in minimum time period, especially in the health and medical education, real estate, hospitality, food processing, cold storage and cold chain and education sectors.
“Last year, we had the total outside investment of Rs 15,000 crores. By now, we have cleared investment proposals of around Rs 27,000 crores. We hope that in next six months, it will cross Rs 70,000 crore.”
These investments are likely to generate a minimum of six to seven lakh jobs in Jammu and Kashmir. J&K is offering Rs 28,000 crore as incentives. Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) worth Rs 3,000 crore was signed with companies in the UAE earlier this year. The big business groups including Emaar, DP world, Lulu and Noon.com have evinced interest.
Those will be taken to the final phase now. There are 17 focus sectors for investment in J&K. The J&K Government has been focusing on the industrial sector for accelerating the economic growth and for generating employment opportunities for the youth of the Union Territory. The Industries and Commerce (I&C) Department operates as the apex body for the development of industrial sector in the UT.
The vision of I&C Department is to create sustainable, equitable, environment-friendly and balanced industrial growth in the MSME, Textile, Mining and Trade sectors. An integral part of this vision is creation of employment opportunities for the local skilled and educated youth.
The I&C Department operates through two separate Directorates-one each for the Kashmir Division and the Jammu Division. It implements the government’s policies related to various aspects of industrial development.
It also facilitates entrepreneurship in establishing industries by providing them the land, required clearances and incentives/concessions available under the Industrial development Policies of the UT.
At present, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has developed 57 industrial estates and many more are in the process of development.(IANS)