SRINAGAR, MAY 17, 2016 – Describing young entrepreneurs as an ideal role model for the state’s Generation Next, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, today lauded their achievement of translating imaginative ideas into real success stories against all odds, especially during the years of turbulence.
She described these self-empowered young men and women as trendsetters whose success needs to be celebrated. “They have created both resources for their businesses and employment opportunities for other young people from the state. My government will work on creating a real business-friendly environment which will give a further fillip to entrepreneurship in the state”, she said.
The Chief Minister said this while interacting, for over two long hours, with a group of young, successful and deeply passionate entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. These ranged from fields as vast as industry and services to the areas like food processing, handicrafts, agriculture and allied sectors.
Advisor to the Chief Minister, Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Navin. K. Chaudhary, Commissioner / Secretary, Industries & Commerce, Shailendra Kumar and PDP Youth President, Waheed Parra, were among those present on the occasion.
The Chief Minister heard the captivating stories of each one of these “celebrities”, who had become a torch-bearer in their respective fields. She praised many of those who after studying abroad had returned to their homeland, forfeiting lucrative offers that had come their way. “These interactive sessions are not without purpose. I want to understand your problems and resolve them,” she said even as she assured the entrepreneurs of removing hurdles that they face in running their business units.
The Chief Minister said she was pleasantly surprised to know that most of the youngsters have become symbol’s of the state’s resilience and enormous talent. She added that she was aware about the difficult circumstances in which they had carved out a distinct niche for themselves in trying circumstances. “I am working towards using knowledge and expertise to empower youth who have no shortage of talent. We will also organize entrepreneur and student exchange programmes, particularly in the area of skill development which will give a new direction to our youngsters,” she added.
Mehbooba Mufti further said that brilliance of Athar Aamir-ul-Shafi Khan, who stood second in the IAS examination, and Ayesha Aziz, who became the country’s youngest pilot, are inspiring youngsters and scripting a new chapter in the annals of Kashmir’s history. “The day is not far off when your silent revolution will find an echo in the country’s media,” she stated.
Some of the areas where the youngsters have broken new ground include technology innovation, ITES (IT-Enabled Services), software development, high-density farming, food & fruit processing, fashion designing, besides high-investment areas like steel & cement manufacturing and power generation.
The Chief Minister was impressed by the presence of a large number of women entrepreneurs who have carved out a place for themselves in the hitherto unchartered territory of top-end business activities like Internet Services Providers (ISPs), MAPs (Medical & Aromatic Plants) and Floriculture.
Responding to the several issues raised by the entrepreneurs, Mehbooba Mufti directed Secretary Industry to deliver ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and iron out difficulties they face in allotment of land in the organized sector, institutional finance through banks, obtaining no objections from various government departments to launch their units as well as the challenges on the marketing front. She said she will soon visit some of the enterprises whose units have achieved benchmark of global quality.
During the interaction, the entrepreneurs raised issues related to substantial expansion of their existing units, availing the package of incentives under the State and Central Industrial Policies, besides getting a level-playing field in running their businesses in a hassle-free manner.
The Chief Minister assured the entrepreneurs of positively considering most of the suggestions put forward, especially those related to creating a ‘Viability Fund’ for business start-ups and incentivizing those units which engage women workforce in large numbers. She also asked the Industry Secretary to make it easier for the youngsters to access finance under the Seed Capital and Mudra schemes started by the government.