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J&K Govt notifies SOP for resuming industrial operations



786 units in Jammu, 455 in Kashmir divisions operational  

BK News

Jammu, May 1: To ease public hardship due COVID19 lockdown, the Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (State Executive Committee) Government of Jammu and Kashmir has notified standard operating procedure for regulating activities of industries, industrial, commercial and private establishmentsin pursuance to measures being taken up during lockdown.

As per the order, the Industries & Commerce Department has been vested with the authority for issuance of orders to permit operation of industrial units. The SOP has specified the categories of industry to be permitted to operate during the period of lockdown which included essential commodities comprising basic food processing activities, Packaged processed food items, pharmaceuticals, soaps, disinfectant and detergents, agro products, Packaging Material, Cold Storages, Packaged Drinking water and Cotton Masks.

In addition, some activities have also been permitted on case to case basis like Repair of transformers and Parts thereof, production of cardboard/ wooden boxes for apple/ fruit packing, Industries operating in rural areas, Brick Kilns in rural areas and production units requiring continuous manufacturing process. Besides, manufacturing activities within the Industrial Estates have been allowed on case-to-case basis where the arrangement for stay of workers is possible within the premises or an adjacent building.

Besides, the units manufacturing Medical/Health infrastructure items, Sanitization Tunnels/ fumigation Tunnels are also to be permitted to operate on case to case basis if existing within the Industrial Estates. Specific manufacturing activities, if essential, for meeting requirement of the Government and projects like development/construction and other works of industrial estates are also to be permitted.

Likewise, services including Print and electronic media, IT & ITES, Data and Call Centres for Government activities only, CSCs, e-com companies, Courier Services, Cold Storage & warehousing, Private Security Services, Hotels & Home Stays accommodating persons stranded due to lockdown and establishments used for quarantine facilities would to be permitted to operate.

The Department of Industries & Commerce under the guidance of Commissioner Secretary, Industries & Commerce, has permitted 1007 industrial units to operate during the lockdown period in Jammu while as 468 units have been permitted in Kashmir as per provisions of the Standard Operating Procedure. Corresponding to the above 786 units have resumed their operation in Jammu whereas 455 units have become operational in Kashmir.

The Department has facilitated operation of all Pharmaceuticals and Oxygen gas bottling units. Other category of units which have been permitted to operate included Flour Mills, Rice Mills, Oil Mills, Packaging Material, Dal & Besan, Animal/ Poultry Feed, Surgical bandage, Disposal Syringes, Cotton and Dental material, Packaged Drinking Water, Iodized Salt, Agrochemicals, Spices, Cold Storage Facilities, Milk Processing, Soap Detergents, Sanitization Tunnels, Food Processing, Steel Rolling Mills/ Furnaces, Plaster of Paris, Cement, Paints, PVC Granules, Mosquito Coils, Briquettes, Mattresses, Textiles, Cotton Masks etc.

The Industries & Commerce Department in unison with the Department of Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs has been able to ensure availability of essential commodities across J&K with effective maintenance of supply chain with no shortage of any item been reported from any part of J&K. The department has also facilitated operation of some warehouses where the material was to be supplied for construction of Government projects like Steel Authority of India Ltd.

However, permission for operating these units has been granted on the condition of following Social distancing norms as specified by the government under the notified SOP. The commuting of workers has to be done with only 30% capacity of the mode of transport used. The owners are required to keep the premises properly sanitized. The workers have to undergo thermal screening twice a day and wear masks. Medical insurance of the workers has been made mandatory besides strict ban on use of Gutka and Tobacco inside the unit premises and provision of hand wash and Sanitizer at sufficient number of places inside the unit premises observed.

It has been stipulated that the units shall operate with not more than one third of the staff and management to ensure maintenance of Social Distancing at the work place. Smaller units with strength of less than 20 persons and units where the labour resides within the unit premises are kept out of the purview of this stipulation. Pharmaceutical units have been permitted to work with 60% of the workforce.

The officers of the Industries & Commerce Department, have been asked to inspect such units on weekly basis to monitor the observance of norms of social distancing and related measures, inspected 221  units in Jammu Division upon which on observation of discrepancy permission in respect of 01 unit has been withdrawn by the Director Industries & Commerce, Jammu.

On the directions of Commissioner Secretary Industries & Commerce, the J&K Handloom Development Corporation and Khadi & Village Industries Board (KVIB) have also mobilized their units to augment mask production for meeting the demand from various district authorities. About 8 Lakh masks have been manufactured by 28 units of the said Corporations after their operation during lockdown. 

J&K SIDCO and J&K SICOP are regularly carrying out fumigation and sanitation drives in all their estates on regular basis to ensure proper hygiene in the estates.

The Industries & Commerce department has also mobilized the Industrial units to come forward in CSR Activities. The Industrial Units have distributed sanitizer, masks and gloves. The activities also included making arrangements of food for workers and labourers in the industrial areas. Some units have also made monetary contribution towards J&K Relief Fund and PM CARES to the tune of Rs 50 lakh besides a Quarantine facility has been setup in Industrial Estate Lassipora by the concerned Industrial Association. Likewise, 4 COVID Sample collection booths have been donated to Health Department along with installation of Sanitization tunnels.

The staff of Industries & Commerce Department including various Corporations has also come forward in fight against COVID Pandemic by making contribution to J&K Relief Fund from their salary amounting Rs. 58.132 Lakh.

Meanwhile, Director Industries and Commerce, Jammu on 27-04-2020, conducted surprise inspection of Industrial units at Industrial Growth Centre Samba and Industrial Estate Kathua to ascertain whether the units are following the guidelines prescribed under the Standard Operating Procedure issued by the Government,  to ensure that the units are complying with the social distancing norms, maintaining proper hygiene in the unit premise and wearing of  face masks by the employees.

The unit holders were advised to highlight guidelines and good hygienic practices in the shape of posters within the unit premises so that the workers are reminded of the same more frequently and in case they face hardship in getting the posters printed, the Federation of Industries, Jammu and other Associations have assured help to such units by getting the material printed.

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FICCI holds workshop on ATA Carnet for J&K importers, exporters



Workshop on ATA Carnet
BK News

Srinagar, Sept 26: The apex trade and industry body of the country Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here on Monday organised an awareness workshop on ATA Carnet and its operational aspects for exporters and importers of J&K.
The workshop was held in collaboration with the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
ATA Carnet ‘facilitates green channel route for doing business in India and abroad’. Also known as ‘Passport for Goods’, it is an international customs document that permits the tax-free and duty-free temporary export and import of nonperishable goods for up to one year.

Workshop on ATA Carnet

The event provided an opportunity for exporters, importers and business experts to share their mutually beneficial knowledge and experiences. They discussed issues involved in the temporary import of goods and drew benefits from the deliberations of the session. The experts and guests interacted with the workshop participants on ATA Carnet and responded to several queries while clarifying doubts about the operational aspects of ATA Carnet.
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole, in his address, said the ATA Carnet should be promoted with the ‘One District One Product initiative’ of the Government of India to reap its benefits for exporting local produce.
Deputy Commissioner of Customs, Srinagar, Danish Inder Singh Gill said, “It is right to call ATA Carnet as FICCI Green Channel Route to make it more popular with the business community in India”.
Director, Handicrafts & Handloom, Kashmir, Mehmood Ahmad Shah, talked about the initiatives, issues & challenges of the Handicrafts & Handloom sector of Kashmir.

Workshop on ATA CarnetHighlighting the importance of the workshop for the local export community, Chairman FICCI Jammu & Kashmir, Irfan Ahmad Guju, in his welcome remarks, said it is an initiative in educating people on the use of ATA Carnet and appreciating the value it brings to the export community”.
President, KCCI, Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, also spoke at the occasion. Senior Consultant, FICCI & Former Member Customs Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT), PS Pruthi; Deputy Secretary General, FICCI, Nirankar Saxena; and Co-Chair, FICCI Jammu & Kashmir, Rajesh Sharma interacted with the participants of the workshop and responded to several queries to clarify doubts on the operational aspects of ATA Carnet.
Carnets are like passports for goods replacing normal customs documentation enabling fast trouble-free importation into member countries without having to pay duty or tax. The system gives a number of advantages to businessmen seeking new opportunities on foreign markets. It can benefit business travellers, sales executives, fair exhibitors, film and tv crews, artists, engineers, educationalists, entertainers, sports teams and many more during their overseas trips.
The key benefit is that it can be used for multiple trips throughout its one-year validity. It reduces delays and standardises procedures that are vital in today’s economic world. In addition, it significantly simplifies customs paperwork.
FICCI has been functioning as the National Issuing & Guaranteeing Association (NIGA) for the operation of the ATA Carnet system in India.

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J&K’s Dwindling Corrugation Industry



J&K’s Dwindling Corrugation Industry

Dhaar Mehak M

Pazeer Kataria

J&K’s Dwindling Corrugation Industry! The corrugation industry is a sub-category of the paper industry. It essentially deals with the manufacturing of customised boxes made from the amalgamation of cardboard, kraft paper, adhesives, stitching, wiring etc. Corrugation boxes are an improvisation over ordinary cardboard boxes. These boxes are stronger, durable, environment friendly, cost-effective, sustainable, recyclable and easy to customise. The corrugation industry has revolutionised the modern-day world because of its environment-friendly nature. The main output produced by this industry is (customised) packaging material for multiple purposes across various intermediate and final uses.

India’s corrugation market is estimated to be worth Rs 30,000 crore. Over time, this sector has grown steadily and sustainably. Given the enormous size of the Indian economy, there has always been a high demand for the goods and services supplied by this sector. It has consistently been a highly popular business among potential entrepreneurs. The Covid-19 pandemic has, however, caused this industry to experience a recent nationwide decline. The cost of all raw materials, including the fuel for running the machinery and the cost of transportation, has skyrocketed. The sector has been further restricted by the limited import of less expensive raw materials and the increased tax burden on businesses.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the corrugation industry is directly linked to the horticulture sector. Cardboard boxes have replaced traditional wooden boxes for apple packaging to a large extent. Though the corrugation industry of J&K produces boxes for beverages, bakery, medicines, yoghurt, processed foods etc. apart from horticulture the main demand comes from the latter itself. As such the corrugation industry has been a very popular venture amongst the potential entrepreneurs in J&K. However, the post-pandemic world hasn’t been the same for the corrugators of J&K. The corrugation industry in the region has been running in losses since the beginning of the pandemic.

All of a sudden it was decided that the GST on the corrugated boxes would be increased by 6 percentage points. Initially, the purchase sale tax was 12% and so was the sales tax. After this decision, while the purchase tax is the same, the sales tax has increased to 18%. There is a direct 6% dead weight loss created, the brunt of which is born by the manufacturer. Meanwhile, the rates of the boxes have tended to remain constant declining the profit of the manufacturers by a big slash.

The first blow came with the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic right in China. Kraft paper, one of the essential raw materials, is imported into India from China. As soon as the pandemic was declared the imports were halted and the basic raw material shortage was felt. Steadily this had to be substituted with the indigenous craft paper which increased the cost of production. Other imported substitutes coming from the rest of the world also got expensive and the production cost of the industry rose immediately. This sudden nature of the shock gave the least time to the corrugators of J&K to come to terms with the outcomes.

Another major shock came with the updated taxation decision from the ministry of finance. All of a sudden it was decided that the GST on the corrugated boxes would be increased by 6 percentage points. Initially, the purchase sale tax was 12% and so was the sales tax. After this decision, while the purchase tax is the same, the sales tax has increased to 18%. There is a direct 6% dead weight loss created, the brunt of which is born by the manufacturer. Meanwhile, the rates of the boxes have tended to remain constant declining the profit of the manufacturers by a big slash.

The most important source of demand for corrugated boxes however comes from the horticulture sector in the region. And here the major concern is the competition given to the locally manufactured corrugation boxes by the imported ones coming from the neighbouring states. There are two main reasons behind this competition. One of the reasons quoted by the local manufacturers is that the business houses outside J&K are multi-project ventures, keeping the cost of production very low for the producers. As such, in the local market, these boxes are sold at a cheaper rate than those coming from our local producers. The second reason comes from the consumers who claim that the boxes coming from outside are not only superior in quality but are affordable too. The joint impact of both these reasons is a decline faced by this otherwise brimming and quoted ‘high potential’ industry in the region.

Another important local source of demand for the corrugation industry of J&K is the beverage industry located across the region. Corrugation boxes have been a preferred choice for these units. However, the growing prices of these boxes have forced this industry to look for alternatives and substitutes. After a brief research, it turns out that the beverage industry is substituting corrugation boxes with plastic and polythene packaging. At the same time posing a long-run threat to the fragile environment of the region!

 In Kashmir, the corrugation business has a direct and indirect impact on about 20,000 households. These people in a majority of the cases are not affiliated with any other economic activity. A loss to this industry will impact the members across all these households. In light of these events and factual realities, there arise some critical policy implications. For starters, the local government must restrain the unquestionable import of corrugation boxes from the rest of the country. Given that the horticulture sector is at the back of this industry, it is important that the two grow mutually and with an interdependence that is conjointly and positively reinforcing the overall growth. Immediate intervention and curtailment of the taxes is the most pressing pre-requisite for the sustenance and then eventual growth of this sector. From a longer-run perspective, the use of corrugation products instead of plastic and polythene is J&K is the basic need to keep up with the fragile ecosystem that the region is bestowed with.

The authors work with the Department of Economics, Islamic University of Science & Technology & can be reached at [email protected] 

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Lassipora industrialists call on newly appointed director



Lassipora industrialists call on director

BK Media 

Srinagar, Aug 18: President Industrial Association Lassipora (IAL), Mohammad Muzaffer Ahanger, called on newly appointed Director Industries and Commerce, Kashmir, Saloni Rai to make her aware about the various problems faced by the industrialists of the estates.

While congratulating Rai for her appointment as the Director Industries Kashmir, Ahanger raised various issues faced by industrialists at Industrial Growth Centre, Lassipora.

Ahanger was accompanied by the president ply-board association and veneer industry, Irshad Ahmad Bhat,  and other members of IAL.

Some urgent issues like pending incentive claims, extension of revalidation of expired provisionally registered units and problems faced by the new allottees through online portal were also discussed with the director, according to a statement issued by IAL.

Developmental issues including repairing and macadamization of damaged roads at IGC Lassipora were also brought to her notice.

“It’s apparent how business fraternity had been facing difficulties for over a decade. Post 2014 floods, 2019 lockdown accompanied with Covid19 outbreak, losses are beyond the imagination,” Ahanger said. “We expect that the appointment of our new dynamic director will strengthen the ailing industries and navigate us towards further success. We have high expectations from her and we are confident that she will raise the bar.”

According to the statement, Saloni Rai assured that all the grievances and other related demands shall be resolved at the earliest and will also fast track the completion process of long pending issues.

Rai also told them that she will visit IGC Lassipora in the coming days to physically witness the condition of the estate by interacting with the industrial unit holders.

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