Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Should Businessmen be Mixing Business With Street Politics?

Price of mixing politics with business extracts a heavy toll in Kashmir, but FCIK and KCCI shamelessly co-sponsor most hartals and shutdowns while keeping their hands stretched out for more government aid

Local industry incurred losses over Rs 10000 crores: FCIK

Industrial sector of Kashmir requires edge: KCCI

Srinagar: Putting the losses incurred by local industry at over Rs 10,000 crores over the last two decades, Shakeel Qalander, President of Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK), said that the domestic industry requires protection in terms of pre and post facilitation which are essential for the industrial sector to function.

“Our local industry has suffered losses worth over Rs 10,000 crores with over 20,000 industrial units turning sick out of 40,000 units across the valley. We require an industrial policy that would attract new entrepreneurs to establish their units in Kashmir instead of government jobs. We need better facilities, better road connectivity and basic infrastructure, to be provided by the government by virtue of pre facilitation”, Qalander said.

With respect to investments coming to the State, Qalander said that despite a uniform industrial policy across the State the focus of infrastructural development remains towards Jammu and Kathua, while the rest of the State is ignored.“There should be a differential policy for all the backward districts so that infrastructural development takes place there as well,” Qalander said.

In terms of post facilitation Qalander said that once products are manufactured by the local entrepreneurs, there is a requirement for post production marketing cover from the government. “Our State has an annual budget of Rs 9000 crores for development purpose out of which Rs 3600 crores are spent on required purchases per annum. If government makes purchases from the local producers, the industry here would greatly benefit. ,” Qalander said.

Stating a requirement for an edge rather than protection, president Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), Mubeen Shah said, “We would like to have an edge rather that protection for our State’s industries. Protections should be restricted to only export of raw material which can help the local industry grow and the only thing we need is expertise.” He said that why should the people pay more, just because of inefficiency of the local industry. “Rather than diversity of production, there is a requirement for focusing on a niche market that would provide an edge in the global market and would help the industry grow due to less competition”, Shah said, adding a requirement for price protection that should be automatically be implemented, besides requirement for establishment of basic infrastructure and imperative facilities like power.

(Rising Kashmir)

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