Friday 8 August 2008

This time around, hills will have the industries !

Written by Anil Singh

This time around, hills will have the industries. If the provisions of Uttarakhand State industrial policy 2008
are implemented properly, hills will indeed have their own industries.
And there is no reason to doubt the efficacy of the plans, as the state government has come up with very attractive incentives for all those who become part of this industrial revolution. The key features with amendments of this hill centric Industrial policy are as follows:

1) Special power tariff rebate up to 100 percent.
2) Categorization of the remote and hilly areas of the state in group A and B (with incentives in the former higher than the latter)
3) Unlike in the past (the industrial policy 2003), when projects having investments of more than Rs 50 crore were classified as mega project Projects; this time around it will be more than Rs 5 crore.(scaled down to 10% of the initial requirement !)
4) The minimum requirement of land for setting up a private industrial estate has been reduced to 2 acres from earlier requirement of 30 acres. In addition to this, the industrial areas would also be provided financial assistance up to Rs 50 lakh and there will be no stamp duty in the sale and lease deed of the land meant for industrial plots.
5) Provision of capital subsidy on fixed capital investment in building, plant and machinery at the rate of 25 per cent maximum of Rs 30 lakh in Group A while 20 percent with maximum of Rs 25 lakh in group B.
6) A special VAT rebate up to 90 percent
7) Hassle free loans from banks and financial institutions.

Going by the results brought about by the Central Industrial Package 2003, this Industrial policy will also usher a rapid wave of industrialization in the hilly and remote regions of the state.

Whether this is good or bad is up to the time to decide; but is industrialization the best economic model at our disposal? definitely a point of debate.

Only yesterday, I read an article about the possible damage Kawarias have done to the delicate ecology of Gomukh, by venturing into the restricted territory. The concern of the environmentalists is obvious.

If a mere human intervention can pose such a grave threat to the region's ecology; isn't it foolish to assume that any unhindered industrial growth will have no effect on the region's delicate ecological balance.

From the time of its inception, Tourism is advertised as the key industry of the state. Much lip service treatment is given to horticulture as well. After eight years where do we stand in these two sectors?

Uttarakhand is a state where tourists (2.2 crore) outnumber the population(85 lakh) is often been said and publicized, but how well have we harnessed this advantage?

All over the world, it is an acknowledged fact that tourism as a sector needs hard, consistent and single minded effort; developing tourism sector is a much difficult process; as its founding principle is preservation rather than creation.

Inviting businesses to set up industries is the easiest economic model that can be followed. But shortest routes are not always the best ones…

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