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, July 11, 2008

Good News for a Change

Valley exports goods worth Rs 1100 crores annually

Bilal Hussain (Greater Kashmir)

Srinagar: Chairman, northern region, Federation of Indian Export Organization (FIEO) Dr R K Dhawan said at a press conference held on the concluding day of 3-day workshop on ‘marketing management in international business’ that 90 percent of the handicraft wood items were being exported form Kashmir, the Valley had huge potential for exports but the inadequate infrastructure was proving the impediment.

“There is huge manpower in the Valley that could be utilized to strengthen exports,” he said, adding that brand Kashmir with respect to the products of saffron, shawls and other goods should be projected and promoted across the world.

Faculty member, Entrepreneur Development Institute Srinagar, Riyaz Ahmad Khan, said the Valley exported goods worth Rs 1100 crore annually.

The Development Programme (EMDP) on “Market Development Management in International Business” was organized by the J&K Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI) in collaboration with FIEO, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) and Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

“The government of India should extend the IT exemptions to the exporters of Kashmir to promote exports of wood items,” Dr Dhawan said. "Such exemptions under 10A and 10B Income Tax Act are already being given to the exporters in Saharanpur and Jodpur."

Dr Dhawan who was the chief guest on the occasion said the government of India should initiate barter trade with Pakistan through the Pakistan administered Kashmir (PAK) as it was doing with neighboring countries.

The programme was in continuation to the series the EMDP holds across the whole of Northern India which has been scheduled to develop the clusters for exports with a broad objective of increasing the overall exports.

The FIEO chairman identified the sectors of tourism, horticulture and floriculture for having tremendous business potential.

At the valedictory function, Dr Dhawan distributed certificates among the participants.

While speaking on the occasion, the Director JKEDI Dr M I Parray lauded the support and cooperation extended by the government to the Institute.

According to the course coordinator Riyaz Ahmad Khan, during the programme, experts from IIFT interacted and made presentations on the issues like WTO, export and import policy, risk management, export documentation, global marketing framework and selection of markets. Riyaz said the participants found the programme very beneficial and suggested to organize such training programmes at regular intervals.

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