J&K’s trade, export policy

Kashmir Times. Dated: 8/6/2018 3:21:41 PM

All the marketing bodies of government and private sector need to be geared for making market driven economic activity a success

Formulation of the first ever Jammu and Kashmir Trade and Export Policy for strengthening the market driven economic progress for the next ten years appears to be a good decision under the Governor’s rule. But the policy implementation needs to be backed up by adequate infra-structure and guidelines so that the dynamics of the state as an agrarian economy in transition towards market driven economy requires a hard work for bringing all the stakeholders on board. Moreover, the aim of the policy to transform J&K’s economy from supply constrained into a competitive export led entity responsive to enhanced domestic integration and wider participation in national and global economy in tune with the national policies needs to be backed up with proper guidelines. The latter have unfortunately been missing in the past due red-tapism caused by bureaucratic wrangles and road blocks created by unprofessional approach of various institutions in the state. It is sad state of affairs that the marketing societies floated by the government as well as the cooperative organizations have been bogged down by allegations of corruption and nepotism due to political interference in their working for the past more than seven decades. These societies also became hub of petty politicking and the basic democratic structure was destroyed by the politicians for their vested interests. The funds and revenue generated by these organizations through the contribution of the members from the grassroot level were mismanaged and gains from the working were frittered away in due course of time. The entire cooperative structure and its working was destroyed due to ill-conceived policies of the politicians of the day in the entire state. This led to the loss of faith and confidence in the working of these organizations as a result of which the marketing system went down the drain for no fault of the people from the grassroot level. These shortcomings not only hit the economic activity of the agriculture sector but also the market driven economy of the state in the long run. It is now that such a policy has been found missing for almost four decades in the state.
The ten year long policy formulation will require course correction in between if the situation arises. In fact, scope has been kept for such a course correction in the beginning itself. The attempts to create domestic trade volume by five times in the next ten years will be successful only if an earnest effort is made for providing value to the agriculture produce of the farmers in the state. The middlemen, who have been cashing in on the hard work of the farmers has to be eliminated by the state government during the policy implementation. The farmers will be at loss if the implementation at the grassroot level is missing in the next one decade or so. The question of generating employment opportunities under this policy will remain unanswered if the trade volume misses its target and opening available at the national as well as global level. Being one of the richest states in terms of agriculture production, the return to the farmers has been on the low ebb for no fault of the producers. The government as envisaged in the policy has to become an instrument of a facilitator than a regulator for the benefit of agriculture producers. After these steps are taken in the right earnest, only then the state government can expect investment in this sector and earn more money for its own people besides creating employment opportunities for the local population in allied sectors. The state government should also not forget that the atmosphere of hatred created in the markets outside J&K against the produce will not be beneficial for the people of the state. It will be the responsibility of the state government to check such tendencies at the national level so that the produce from J&K finds its way into the national and global markets. The liberalized markets can offer an opportunity to the people of this state only when a humane approach is adopted in all spheres.

 

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