By Anmol Gupta
Historically developing countries or regions of the world have had extraordinarily large governments while the quality of governance in most cases remained poor. Most governments in these regions paid more attention to the size of the government and not so much to its quality. Understanding this anomaly, our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave the nation the now famous slogan, Minimum Government and Maximum Governance. The concept takes into account the need to create effective legal, judicial and regulatory mechanisms, ensuring transparency and evolving market friendly forms of State intervention.
The state of Gujarat topped the list of 32 Indian states and Union Territories while the state of Jammu and Kashmir occupied a miserable 29th position just ahead of the small North Eastern states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh as far as business friendly environments are concerned.
Just after being anointed the state’s chief minister, one would recollect the visits made by Late Mufti Mohd Sayeed to leading industrialists of the country to set up shop in the state. But the results are testimony to the fact that the government in the state of J&K is not even doing the basic things right till date. The current or the previous governments have never been short on rhetoric on how there is a need to develop industry in the state in order to create more jobs for the populace. In press conferences and otherwise successive governments have promised the sun and the moon to the industry, but there has been absolutely no action to back this rhetoric. The state of J&K is akin to a school student participating in a discussion who is high on volume but absolutely low on content.
On one hand the state has among the highest percentage of government employees (estimated at 5%) of the total population, on the other hand the quality of governance to put it mildly has remained poor. 2014 September’s floods in the state are a case in point on the capability and the efficiency of the state government machinery. Hence, it is imperative that the elected government of the state should take steps to improve the current situation by removing red tapism & nepotism from the government machinery and to make it more accountable. The focus should be on simplifying procedures and setting up mechanism of single window clearances.
The study is a reality check for the Government and the people of Jammu and Kashmir that no reasonable minded person will invest in the state anytime soon. Already, the state is at a massive disadvantage for setting up of industry owing to its geographical location and the inefficient government machinery is making the task of driving investment in the state only tougher. The government should set realistic goals for the next five years and aim to enter the list of top ten states in the country on the basis of ease of doing business. There is an urgent need to cut down on the rhetoric and to focus on providing real governance in every sphere and in every sense of the imagination.
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The writer is a MBA in Finance and has recently shifted base to Jammu after working in various corporates for 8 years
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