The Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Program (PMEGP) has worked wonders for Jammu and Kashmir. The Union Territory leads ahead of all other states in self-employment opportunities under the PMEGP.
Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) under its flagship programme PMEGP created 1.73 lakh new employment in 2021-22 in the Union Territory. The PMEGP scripted history by setting up 1.03 lakh new manufacturing and service units and creating over 8.25 lakh jobs in India in the year 2021-22.
But this employment spree holds more relevance in J&K, as it will go a long way in controlling the menace of terrorism in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The Government of India has accelerated the pace of development in Jammu and Kashmir, which had been neglected for decades.
The government has opened new avenues for the development of Jammu and Kashmir. This initiative will provide a major boost to the domestic manufacturing of different types of products and services. It will help reduce dependence on imports and will simultaneously increase export capacity. For the industrial development of Jammu & Kashmir under the new scheme, Rs 28,400 crore will be spent up till 2037.
Under this scheme, industries will be promoted and a new chapter of industrialisation will be ushered. The scheme is designed for bringing about a massive change in the current industrial eco-system of Jammu and Kashmir by focusing especially on employment generation, skill development and sustainable development, according to a note by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
In the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “Today, the development of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, is one of top priorities of our government. Whether it is women empowerment, opportunities for youth, the welfare of dalits, downtrodden, oppressed and deprived or about statutory and basic rights of the people, our government is taking decisions for the betterment of the state. Jammu and Kashmir has a great heritage and its graceful people are adopting as well as suggesting new ways to make the state stronger.”
The majority of the PMEGP units were set in terrorism prone areas. KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena has said that the employment spree bears testimony to the fact that people are participating in government schemes after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
The PMEGP is a credit-linked subsidy programme administered by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC), a statutory organisation under the administration of the Ministry of MSME is the nodal agency at the national level for the implementation of the scheme.
In 2021-22, KVIC had set a target of 3,360 PMEGP units in J&K but buoyed by the government’s major push to local manufacturing, it exceeded the target by a massive 544 per cent. With 21,640 manufacturing and service units, J&K now stands way ahead of bigger states.
In 2021-22, a majority of the PMEGP units in J&K have been set up in districts like Baramula, Badgam, Pulwama, Anantnag, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Bandipora and Doda that are largely prone to militancy. As many as 16,807 (78 per cent) of the 21,640 PMEGP units in J&K belong to the service sector, that is, units like beauty parlour, boutiques, embroidery, mobile/computer repair shops and food outlets.
This is followed by 1,933 units (9 per cent) under rural engineering and biotechnology like steel fabrication and steel furniture, artificial jewellery making, vermi-compost and bio-fertilizers units. The PMEGP was launched in 2008 and for the next six years till 2013-14, KVIC had set up just 10,401 PMEGP units in J&K.
Whereas, in the last eight years, 52,116 units were set up by KVIC. Further, KVIC created a total of 85,719 employment under PMEGP in the first six years (2008-09 to 2013-14) whereas the last eight years have seen a massive 4.10 lakh employment in J&K under PMEGP. It is pertinent to mention that the development of J&K has been the focus area of the Indian government.
Special thrust has been given on the creation of local employment in the Union Territory since 2014-15 and the efforts have been fortified since 2019 when J&K was made a union territory. Jammu and Kashmir Khadi and Village Industries Board (J&K KVIB) has released Rs 348.48 crore as margin money (subsidy) in favour of entrepreneurs who had applied loan from the board since 2019.
Dr Hina Shafi Bhat, Vice-Chairperson, KVIB said: “KVIB has no cap on extending assistance to local youth and can provide handholding to any number of youth willing to start their enterprises in the UT. The board has created employment avenues for lakhs of educated unemployed, poor, down-trodden and marginal sections of the society.