The wave of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Startup India programme is now sweeping through the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
According to a media report, a three-member team from Invest India recently met Shailendra Kumar, principal secretary to the J&K government, industries and commerce department, along with Dr M I Parray, director of the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI).
The state government and Invest India are looking to provide a much-needed boost to the state’s startup ecosystem. The first step in this direction is to formulate a comprehensive startup policy for J&K, in line with the Startup India Policy of the Indian government.
“The startup policy shall aim to foster entrepreneurship and promote innovation by creating an ecosystem that is conducive for the growth of startups. Incubation centres across colleges and universities in J&K will be established under the state startup policy,” the media report said.
The state government is also looking to establish an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) facilitation centre at the JKEDI. A startup yatra covering all three regions of the state — Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh — will be held on August 27 and will see participation from college students, budding and established entrepreneurs, and innovators.
“In addition, boot camps will be organised across the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the report added.
Also, a first-of-its-kind incubation centre has been approved for J&K under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) as part of the startup policy initiative; the centre is coming up at the JKEDI.
Although J&K has been seeing political unrest for a long time and is currently under Governor’s Rule for the eighth time, the youth of the state, with their innovative mindset, are taking strides towards progress. Since the start of this year, the JKEDI has trained 254 youth for entrepreneurship. The aspiring entrepreneurs were trained in retail, services, manufacturing, and agro-allied sectors to help them establish their own ventures.
Also, after waiving off the stamp duty on the purchase of immovable property registered in the name of women, the JKEDI is considering incentivising women’s entrepreneurship further by cutting the interest rates on soft loans.
The J&K government is looking to reach every nook and corner of the state to equip unemployed youth with life-sustainable business skills. Also, startups are emerging and growing in the state despite the lack of proper guidelines.
Recently, online handicrafts and handlooms marketplace Kashmir Box raised an undisclosed amount in funding. As Muheet Mehraj, founder of Kashmir Box, told Inc42, “Our efforts have resulted in a 40% increase in the wages of our artisans and farmers. We are now aiming to expand our reach to include 30K artisans and 6K farmers who will bring Kashmir into every household, nationally and globally.”
So far, 19 state governments have launched their own startup policies. With the DIPP’s state startup ranking framework in place, the remaining states are also motivated to launch their own startup policies.