Nearly 10 days after the central government revoked the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and passed a resolution to split it into two union territories, the state continues to be partially offline. While the ban on communication networks for Jammu has been lifted, the Kashmir Valley continues to be a sensitive zone. This hasn’t stopped the government from planning the future of the state and calling for investors.
The state government of Jammu and Kashmir has announced plans to host a three-day global investors summit to be held in Srinagar from October 12. This is expected to provide Jammu and Kashmir with an opportunity to showcase its strengths, strategies and potential, the government said.
Naveen Choudhary, the state’s principal secretary (Industries), said that it will also help allay fears and apprehensions in the minds of trade and business community outside the state. The state governor will also launch roadshows in the country and abroad to attract potential investors. This includes roadshows in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Chennai with promotional events in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, London, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Choudhary emphasised that the objective is to sensitise potential investors regarding opportunities available as well as support and incentives to be provided by the state government. The government looks to invite over 2,000 people, including top industrialists and representatives of business groups. Senior ministers in the union government and bureaucrats are expected to attend the meet.
Choudhary said that the state government will also organise an ambassadors’ meet and a media meet in New Delhi next month to ensure wider participation. He said through the investors meet, trade and industry organisations will come to know firsthand about the business-friendly policies of the government, assess infrastructure, natural resources, raw materials, and skill and unskilled manpower available, and identify business opportunities in the state.
It will present immense opportunities to develop contacts between the state and business community and between local and outside business communities, he said.
The investors summit was speculated soon after the state’s special status was revoked and it was to host major industrial groups and unveil concrete ideas for investment in sectors including hospitality, pharmaceuticals, agro processing and healthcare. It was speculated to have Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurate the showcase summit.
PM Narendra Modi had taken his views on the bifurcation to public with an hour-long address on August 8. He assured the citizens of India and Jammu And Kashmir that the changes to Article 370 and Section 35A will attract more investments and startups, and give the state a technological overhaul.
Later, he also said in an interview that he is very confident that investments will flow in to Jammu & Kashmir. “In fact, leading entrepreneurs have already expressed their interest in investing in this region,” PM Modi said.
The centre is now claiming that with Article 370 revoked, more startups and investors will enter the region to establish their operations. “Open minds and open markets will ensure that the youth of the region will put it on the path of greater progress. Integration gives a boost to investment, innovation and incomes,” the Prime Minister reportedly said.
Under the DPIIT’s 2018 State Startup Ranking Framework, Jammu and Kashmir was counted among the emerging states. Amid unrest and communication cut off, how will innovation and growth foster in the state, turning union territories on October 31, remains a big question.