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The first-ever trade and export policy approved by the government stresses on ‘e-trade’

Srinagar, Aug 02: The first-ever trade and export policy approved by the government stresses on ‘e-trade’ despite the state witnessing frequent internet shutdowns.

The State Administrative Council (SAC), under the chairmanship of Governor, N N Vohra has given a nod to the first ever ‘J&K Trade & Export Policy, 2018-28’.

 

The policy reflects the dynamics of Jammu and Kashmir as an agrarian economy in transition towards a market driven one, said an official handout.

“It is aimed to transform the state economy from a supply constrained one into a competitive export-led entity responsive to enhanced domestic integration and wider participation in national and global economy in tune with the national policies,” the official handout reads.

The draft of the policy says that government corporations shall develop e-commerce platforms for trading products from respective sectors to “increase” the outreach of local products worldwide at lower costs.

“The e-marketing shall also eliminate mediators and improve linkages between farmers, food processors, small time artisans/manufacturers and retailers. Government shall support establishment of world class warehouses, distribution centers by means of allocation of land and incentives for such activities,” the draft reads.

It emphasises that e-trade shall be “facilitated and encouraged” by the government despite frequent internet gag.

Internet gags have become a norm in Kashmir, which create immense inconveniences for the businessmen, students, and people, from other walks of life.

During 2017, Kashmir witnessed internet blockade for at least 60 times, which is highest in a year so far. The internet was blocked 10 times during 2016. There was also 90-days communication ban on mobile telephone and internet following the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani. Business community has been often criticizing government for internet blockade, which they say “affect their trade badly”. Several Information Technology companies have either shut their businesses or moved outside Kashmir.

At the same time, government while emphasized on encouraging e-commerce believes that it would “boost” the state economy. “It is for development of new markets including e-market place,” the policy says.

The vision of the policy as per the draft is to transform the state economy from a supply constrained one into a competitive export-led entity responsive to enhanced domestic integration and wider participation in the national and global economy through trade liberalization in tune with national policies .

“Commodity specific action programmes shall be worked out for promoting and facilitating internal trade and export of major items such as handicrafts, dry fruits, saffron, flowers, basmati rice, processed food, juices and concentrates e-payment of all taxes shall be facilitated and a gradual thrust shall be maintained towards making it mandatory in a definite time frame,” it reads.