In an exclusive interview to News Time Now, Vikas Mittersain, Founder & President, Business Group, speaks on the road ahead in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A.
The Narendra Modi government’s historic decision on Jammu and Kashmir to effectively revoke the controversial Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and to bifurcate the state of Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories will help India’s growing economic strength. What Mr Modi said on Article 35A and 370 is true – that it held back development in of one of the most important and beautiful states in India — Jammu & Kashmir.
In an exclusive interview to News Time Now, Mr Vikash Mittersain, Founder & President, Business Group, Chamber of Commerce and a Tedex speaker, says the revocation of Article 370 and 35A will open doors for Jammu & Kashmir in the fields of industry, jobs, education and the region will become a high-middle income state by 2030, well before the centenary of its independence.
Here is the interview:
Mr Vikas Mittersain: Of course articles 370 and 35A were total hindrances to development in Kashmir. No one in rest of India or the world wanted to invest or set up industries there
NTN: How will the industrial climate change in Kashmir, post abrogation of Article 370 and 35A?
VM: There will be a great rush for industrialisation of Kashmir with Article 370 and 35A gone. There is great scope for all sort of Industries…starts from food and fruit processing industries, and slowly all others.
NTN: For over 70 years, outsiders were not allowed to set up industries in Kashmir. How will industries be able to reduce the trust deficit that has been built up over the years?
VM: Once jobs begin taking roots in Kashmir vis-à-vis industrialisation, the trust deficit will evaporate fast. People are interested in jobs and parents will want their youth working to earn rather than stone pelting at the behest of Pakistan and separatists.
NTN: What should the Union Government do to reduce the trust deficit?
VM: The govt must go all out to restore peace and provide incentives to business to go to Kashmir. Terrorism must be stopped.
NTN: What do you want the government to do to set up a congenial atmosphere to set up industries in Kashmir?
VM: Peace and safety of outsiders are essential things the government can provide.
NTN: Do you feel there should be special incentives to set up industries in Kashmir, if so what?
VM: Of course, the government has to provide special incentives to set up industries. Starting with tax free to businesses, lower cost of electricity and other infra costs, free land in special industrial areas and estates, ease of operations and goods movement, special zones etc.
NTN: What type of industries are most suitable for Kashmir, considering that it is pristine, ecologically and politically sensitive?
VM: Beginning with, focus must be on setting incentives and benefits to local products like fruit processing, followed by timber. Polluting industries must be kept away to maintain the pristine nature of Kashmir. Especially (the govt must provide) a unique opportunity for start-ups in software. Kashmir youth are innovative and energetic and can do very well in software businesses. There are more areas but that’s another story.
NTN: How long will it take for Kashmir to integrate with India through industrial bonding?
VM: We have to give 5 years continuous effort to integrate Kashmir with rest of India.
NTN: Will phased industrialization and creation of jobs reduce militancy in Kashmir?
VM: Yes, the industrialisation and integration with businesses around the world will reduce the lure of militancy in Kashmir without question.
NTN: In this regard, do you feel that there should be a period reserving jobs exclusively for locals?
VM: Yes, it makes sense to reserve jobs to kashmiris for at least 5 years, except specialised jobs which need outsiders.
NTN: Over the years, Kashmir has not had skilled manpower due to lack of proper educational institutions or due to militancy. How will industries fill this gap?
VM: Education institutes must be given a free hand and incentives come in. Initially the closed schools and colleges can be used by the time new buildings and institutes come up. The youth must be incentivised to study in other parts of India
NTN: Will industries in Kashmir need special protection against militancy? If yes, what type.
VM: Education institutes must be given a free hand and incentives come in. Initially the closed schools and colleges can be used by the time new buildings and institutes come up. The youth must be incentivised to study in other parts of India.
NTN: Industry and others may need protection from militancy for a couple of years
VM: Industry and others may need protection from militancy for a couple of years.
NOTE: Mr. Vikash Mittersain is also on the Advisory Board of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Centre, Lucknow and has authored two books — YOU CEO & YOU THE LEADER. He is an Electronic Engineer from Walchand College and is also Chairman and Managing Director of “Nazara Technologies Ltd.” started in the year 2000, a company in the Mobile games space. Nazara Technologies is a Global company and is already operating in many countries.