Omar emphasizes special focus on Jammu & Kashmir state

 

            New Delhi/Jammu, November 16 (Scoop News) – Asking for special focusing of problems in special category States like Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Friday emphasized the need for extra-ordinary schemes to target the beneficiary groups in these States and address the problems.

            “The special category states like Jammu and Kashmir share inherent problems of inadequate and costly communication network, hostile climate conditions and adverse topography”, he said adding that the special problems confronting these states require special focus.

            Addressing the Conference of Chief Ministers’ of North Zone States convened by Union Finance Ministry, here, the Chief Minister said that measures ensuring inclusive development and pro-active role by the Banking Institutions towards achieving this goal along with other steps by the Union Government can go a long way in ensuring redressal of chronic backwardness issues of the states like Jammu and Kashmir.

            Omar Abdullah suggested a separate meeting of Union Finance Minister with the Special Category States exclusively to ensure their fuller inclusion in the economic development process of the Nation. “Even within the states of North Region to which today’s conference seeks to address, the progress on the listed agenda is widely uneven. I wish Union Finance Minister would consider calling a separate meeting exclusively for the special category states to ensure their fuller inclusion in the economic development process of the Nation”, he said.

            The Chief Minister said that financing institutions, though working under the discipline of RBI, yet are primarily driven by market demands, profit motives, ease of options and concern for security of their investment. “This obvious truth is reflected in more than 100 percent CD ratio in economically advanced states while it remains very low in the states like Jammu and Kashmir. This is a worrisome issue and puts the operations of other public sector and private banks in a poorer light”, he maintained and stressed the need for improving the CD ratio particularly in agriculture, industrial, trade and MSME sectors.

             Highlighting the importance of full realization of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the Corporate Sector particularly the banking industry, the Chief Minister underscored the need for re-structuring of the mechanism in this regard and improving the delivery of CSR particularly in the areas where banking CD ratio is low. “Banking sector should be made to invest more out of its CSR funds in the areas where its CD ratio is not improving”, he added.

            Omar Abdullah presented resume of the measures and reforms his government has initiated to upgrade and improve agricultural practices and make necessary dent in the growth and development of agro-based economy and said that agriculture credit flow possesses key in ensuring balanced and sustained development in agriculture, horticulture and allied sectors and allied sectors. He said that though the overall flow of institutional credit has increased over the years yet there is need to address the gaps in the system to ensure adequate credit flow to small and marginal farmers.

            The Chief Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir State Level Banker’s Committee (SLBC) has been informed that annual credit plan for the current financial year envisages a total credit flow of Rs. 5788 crores in the State to target 331499 beneficiaries and aim at achieving 40 percent credit deposit ratio in the State by March 2013. He said that revised guidelines have been issued by NABARD to the banks to make institutional credit flow for crop production and investment activities hassle-free and more farm-friendly.

            Underlining the importance of issuance of Kissan Credit Cards (KCCs) to farmers, Omar Abdullah said that the State Government is closely monitoring the issuance of these cards at various levels and banks have been given categorical direction to improve its progress on this count. “Various measures have also been put in place to realize 100 percent issuance of KCCs”, he said and added that 30th June 2013 has been fixed as target date for concerned banks for fully accomplishing the task of providing KCCs to farmers. He said that the Steering Committee of SLBC has also issued guidelines and directions in this regard so that the target fixed in this regard is achieved full in the prescribed time line.

            Speaking on the significance of educational loans to students under Educational Loan Scheme of Banks, the Chief Minister said that the State Government wants considerable fillip in the flow of credit to the students to help them in their persuasion to realize educational goals. He stressed on making educational loans easy and accessible to the students all across the State.  

            Referring to the importance of enhancing credit flow to MSME sector and budding entrepreneurs, the Chief Minister gave details of the historic initiative of Sher-i-Kashmir Employment and Welfare Programme for Youth (SKEWPY) put in place by the State Government to encourage youth to take to the schemes aimed at earning independent livelihood. He said that while 537 beneficiaries have been benefited under this scheme last year, the coverage this year is likely to be more than 2000. “We also launched a pilot project under youth start-up loan scheme this year where under soft loan at 6 percent interest is providing to the entrepreneurs”, he added.

            Strongly advocating for extension in the timeline of industrial package for Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah said that this initiative is of significant importance for the development and universalization of industry in the State. He said special industrial package and concessions to investors to invest in Jammu and Kashmir hold greater importance to help growth and development of industrial sector in all parts of the State.  

            The Chief Minister also referred to the performance of centrally sponsored schemes envisaging educational loans, housing loans, credit weaker sections, progress in Swabhimaan campaign, electronic benefit transfer, campaign to ensure each family has at least one bank account, Swaran Jayanti Gram Swarozgar, Swaran Jayanti Shahari Swarozgar Scheme for Rehabilitation Of Manual Scavengers and Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme.

            The Chief Minister expressed gratitude to the Union Finance Minister and UPA Government for extending full support to Jammu and Kashmir Government in its endeavour to achieve economic betterment and holistic welfare of the State equitably.

            The Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Finance, Abdul Rahim Rather and Financial Commissioner Finance, Mohammad Iqbal Khandey also participated in the Conference.

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