Jammu and Kashmir are emerging as the topmost new investment destination across the country for national and international investors.

The motto of Jammu and Kashmir Industrial Policy 2021-30, “Jammu and Kashmir- Tradition, Growth and Transformation”, epitomizes the transition that J&K is undergoing. Moreover, it symbolizes the thrust given to turn J&K into a lucrative investment destination, keeping this Himalayan region’s unique socio-economic and environmental underpinnings in view.

MSMEs dominate the industrial landscape in the UT of J&K as it contributes about 8% to the GSDP and employs the largest number of people in the services and manufacturing sectors. Around 25000 MSMEs that are operational in the UT employ around 90% of the industrial workforce in the UT.

Against this backdrop, the Jammu and Industrial Policy 2021-30 is a welcome change over the previous industrial policies of 1998, 2004 and 2016. With an outlay of 28,400 crores, ‘New Central Scheme for Industrial Development of Jammu and Kashmir’ notified by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Government of India (GOI), in 2021, is expected to provide impetus to J&K’s transition into an industrially advanced region.

Recently, J&K Private Industrial Estate Development Policy, 2021-30, has been notified. In addition, progressive reforms like GST linked incentives, Capital Interest subvention and Working Capital Interest incentives have also been implemented. These policy interventions have started bearing fruits as investment proposals worth 50,000 crores have been received. These investments are expected to generate an employment potential of 2.33 lakhs.

To further improve the industrial ecosystem in the UT of J&K, Single Window Approach has been streamlined to improve the Ease of Doing Business. In addition, aimed at Minimizing Regulatory Compliance Burden (MRCB), 130 services of J&K departments have been made online.

With fast-paced urbanization witnessed in J&K over the past few decades, there has been a spurt in demand for housing and commercial units. However, the regressive limitations before the repealing of Article 370 posed several impediments to the full development of the real estate sector in J&K. To resolve this predicament, the first-ever J&K Real Estate Summit 2021 was held in which 250 top developers from across the country participated.

Moreover, GOI’s Model Tenancy Act has been adopted by the Government of J&K and portals for Real Estate Regulatory Authority and auctioned the assets and allotment of dwelling units/plots of the J&K Housing Board Jammu Development Authority, Srinagar Development Authority has been launched. In addition, MoU has been signed between the Government of J&K and the National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) for skilling 10,000 persons per year in seven trades in real estate under NULM (National Urban Livelihoods Mission) in Jammu & Kashmir.

The policy changes introduced in J&K were showcased to the potential investors on the world stage during the visit of the Lieutenant Governor of J&K to Dubai Expo- 2020. The Lieutenant Governor also inaugurated Jammu and Kashmir Promotion Week at the LuLu Hypermarket, Dubai, in which goods like GI tagged Saffron, famous varieties of apples, and Kashmiri art and crafts, among others, were showcased. MoU with the Government of Dubai and other Global investors was also signed during this visit.

The road to industrial empowerment and comprehensive progress across several indicators in J&K is expected to present many challenges. However, with the overhaul of laws and rules, institutional support and a competitive ecosystem being developed in J&K, it is expected that the bottlenecks will be resolved. As a result, J&K, in stark contrast with the past’s economic isolation, is poised to emerge as a regional and national investment cluster.