When Jammu and Kashmir’s Lt Governor Manoj Sinha announced a Rs 28,400-crore industrial development scheme for the Union territory, the BJP was quick to link it with Article 370’s abrogation. The party’s J&K president Ravinder Raina claims industrial development didn’t take place in the region due to Article 370, but now investors in the manufacturing sector will get a 30 per cent subsidy if they invest in areas with established industries such as Jammu and Samba districts, and 50 per cent in far-off areas like Poonch, Kupwara and Kishtwar. J&K’s trade bodies and regional political parties, however, are cautious about commenting. “The government issued a press statement, but the fine print is not available anywhere, not even on the website of the department of industries. Unless we know what is in the policy, how can we say anything about it?” asks Devender Singh Rana, National Conference president for Jammu.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) says the government should encourage joint investment in manufacturing and services rather than allowing industrialists from outside J&K to have a free run. Former finance minister Haseeb Drabu says local businessmen and entrepreneurs—owners of commercial trade enterprises, small landowners and those self-employed in horticulture—will face serious challenges under the new economic model.