SRINAGAR, MAY 30, 2015 – Assuring the entrepreneurs, national and international buyers on strengthening the base of industry and handicraft sector in the State, the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, today emphasized upon promoting ‘Brand Kashmir’ to protect our exceptional hand-made products from fakes being sold in national and overseas markets, in the name of Kashmir Art.
He said the State is framing a new Industrial Policy which will primarily focus on investment and employment generation without compromising on environment and ecology.
The Chief Minister said this after inaugurating ‘Kashmir Expo’ 6th International Buyer-Seller Meet, at SKICC, here today.
Besides several domestic buyers, business delegates from 21 countries including United States, UK, Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Vietnam and Indonesia are participating in the Meet, organized by KCC&I.
Minister for Industries & Commerce (I&C), Chander Parkash, Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar, Financial Commissioner, I&C, Khurshid Ganai and Chairman, J&K Bank were also present on the occasion.
Stressing on patenting of handicraft and handloom products, Mufti Sayeed said steps have to be taken to protect our rate arts and sell in volume so that we are able to cater to the demands at national and global-level. ‘It is our joint responsibility to see that ‘Brand Kashmir’ is safeguarded and fake products in the name of Kashmir Art are not only discouraged but totally wiped out. This can only be done with active participation of all stakeholders,” he said and added that steps have also to be taken to improve the working condition of our artisans.
Complimenting the artisans for making such exquisite handicraft and handloom items, the Chief Minister described these sectors as vital for development of economy of the State. He said both the sectors will be promoted in a big way by introducing cluster approach, establishing common facility centres and design development, besides facilitating access to credit and markets.
Mufti Sayeed said a Raw Material Bank for Pashmina has already been set up for Kashmir-based artisans and micro-credit to artisans and weavers through Artisan & Weaver Credit Card Schemes will continue.
The Chief Minister said the Government has also announced a special scheme for Pashmina in Ladakh and for development of other crafts in the State. “Union Ministry of Textiles has already created a Special Purpose Vehicle for implementation of these schemes,” he said.
Calling upon dovetailing handicraft industry with tourism, the Chief Minister said it will provide a window of opportunity to our handicraft sector to sell genuine quality products to high-spending visitors to the State.
Referring to the new Industrial Policy, which is on the anvil, Mufti Sayeed said it will be investor-friendly and focus on creation of ample job opportunities for our skilled youth. “We will ensure that the new Industrial Policy will singularly focus on investment and employment generation without compromising on environment and ecology,” he stated.
The Chief Minister also said that the new Industrial Policy will address the problems faced by the Handicraft and Handloom sectors so that they attain vibrancy in national and international markets. “In a bid to boost sales, completion of the International Trade Centre at Pampore will be taken up on priority,” he revealed.
Making a specific mention of the famous crafts which has distinguished Kashmir all over the world, Mufti Sayeed said he was hopeful that foreign as well as country-bound buyers will be riveted by the wide range of handicraft and handloom products made in the State. “Handicraft items worth Rs. 1700 crore were exported last year, out of which products worth Rs. 1200 crore were sold in overseas markets,” he stated.
Stressing upon laying a sound edifice for good governance and transparent administration in the State, the Chief Minister said ‘Ease of Doing Business’ will be accorded highest priority and e-Governance will be introduced to facilitate industrialists so that they are able to get their jobs done in real time.
Mufti Sayeed said during his earlier stint in 2002, he announced a Special Package of Incentives for industrial development and a new Industrial Policy which was appreciated for being more comprehensive and investor-friendly. “Those initiatives have helped us in bringing in an investment of Rs. 6,342 crore and creation of employment opportunities for 95,312 persons in the industrial sector,” he added.
The Chief Minister also urged the business fraternity to invest in hi-tech industries like Information Technology, Electronics and Food Processing, which have a very good potential for employment generation and are ‘Thrust industries’ in the State Industrial Policy.
Laying stress on promotion of industrially backward areas in the State, the Chief Minister said the Government will be creating a Land Bank for establishment of additional Industrial Estates and developing Industrial Growth Centres, on the pattern of Samba and Lassipora. He also assured that greater incentives will be provided for development of industry in the rural and remote areas of the State.
Mufti Sayeed also indicated that the Government will utilize the HMT Zainakot land, which is being returned to the State Government, by establishing it as an industrial hub.
The Chief Minister said he will provide more teeth to Public Sector Undertakings in I&C Department. “The idea is to promote backward linkages like cocoon production and sheep rearing by the farmers. Handicraft, Handloom and Mining Corporations will be revived by providing them necessary support,” he added.
Mufti Sayeed said his Government will also will focus on training youth in reputed institutes like EDI, Indian Institute of Carpet Technology and Craft Development Institute so that our products reflect blend of heritage and modernity.
Referring to the Budget speech of the Finance Minister, the Chief Minister pointed out a number of announcements made in it for Industry and Handicraft sector including concessions in VAT remission by extending it for local industry for 2015-16, creation of Land Bank of over 10,000 kanals and allocating Rs. 35 crore for Capital Investment Subsidy for plant and machinery.
Minister for Industry & Commerce, in his address, congratulated KCC&I for organizing the 6thInternational Buyer-Seller Meet. He assured that the Government will seriously consider all demands of the industrial fraternity and facilitate marketing of export-oriented products.
Speaking on the occasion, Financial Commissioner, I&C, said that in order to promote exports, the Government will soon operationalize Inland Container Depot at Rangreth and promote registration of our genuine hand-made products under Geographical Indication (GI).
Earlier, Mufti Sayeed went around various stalls showcasing exquisite handicraft products including shawls, embroidery, carpets, silverware, leather and crewel items. He appreciated the skill of the artisans involved in making of such wonderful hand-made items.
The Chief Minister also viewed a 15-minute documentary on Kashmir Crafts, depicting its history and resilience during difficult times.
Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas, Principal Secretary, Finance, Naveen Chaudhary, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asgar Samoon, Director Tourism, Kashmir & MD JKTDC, Farooq Ahmad Shah, MD SIDCO, Kifayat Rizvi, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Lone, besides MDs of several PSUs of I&C Department and President of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Sheikh Ashiq, were also present on the occasion.