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.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Money Lost to Mismanagement is Money Less Spent on Eradicating Poverty

Rashid dwells on greed, corruption and mis-governance in Kashmir

(Mr. Rashid Paul, 40, was born at Ompora, near Budgam. He has a master's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the University of Kashmir. He has worked as a senior correspondent on numerous valley based dailies. He follows business and economy, conflict, environment and power beats. He is also a documentary film maker.)

Sick PSUs Drain J&K of Rs 1800 Crores

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir, already living on a financial precipice, has lost Rs 1800 crores through its sick public sector undertakings (PSUs) over the past couple of years.

Official sources told ‘Kashmir Images’ that the accumulated losses of the sick PSUs have reached to Rs 1800 crores. The PSUs annually loose Rs 125 to 130 crores, sources said.

One wonders how the government affords such a drain when the state is dependent on central government aids to meet its plan and non-plan expenditures!

The state has currently 21 companies including statutory corporations under its administrative and managerial control. It invested around Rs 323 crores in its working PSUs in 2008-2009. A mere of three to four companies including JKTDC, SICOP and a few others could register an ungenerous profit of Rs 2.51 crores during the period, sources said.

Despite the sick PSUs bleeding the state economy to a virtual dryness, the government continues to pump in grants-in-aid, loans, subsidy, equity and other financial components into them, sources added.

For instance, JK Industries, incorporated as government undertaking with an authorized share capital of Rs 20 crores and a paid-up capital of Rs 16.27 crores has accumulated losses to the tune of 420.41 crores.

The PSUs have a huge asset base and infrastructure estimated at Rs 2500 crores and they employ nearly 6000 people. Political interferences and lack of accountability have devastated these undertakings, say the experts.

Prof. Nisssar Ali, an economist, says that many a PSUs can be retrieved with some financial and management pushes while as the rest are irreparable. No material -- financial or management -- can work for them; it is better the government disinvests them, he suggests.

The apex industrial and trade bodies of Kashmir, however, suggest that the PSUs be brought under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.

Shakil Qalander, the president, Federation Chamber of Industries, says that all the PSUs were wisely planned according to the inward resource base. “Units that are beyond recovery be closed; technical and management interventions can revive the rest. The PPP will be the most effective way for their effective operation,” Qalander opines.He claims the move can help double the employment ratio in these units.

Nazir Ahmed Dar, the president Chamber of Commerce and Industries, also called for handing over the PSUs to private players under PPP mode. “It is the only way you can revive them and make them profitable,” he said.

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