JAMMU, Mar 5: J&K Khadi & Village Industries Board (KVIB), a wing of the Department of Industries and Commerce, has failed to conduct its Board meeting in last three years while its three offices at Billawar, Nowshera in Jammu division and Beerwah in Kashmir are lying defunct since long.
In view of the poor publicity and expenditure of just `peanut amount’ on the awareness campaigns every year, majority of the unemployed educated youth of the State are unaware of its many programmes and benefits being provided to the general public under KVIB schemes. Even at the district level hardly any publicity/ awareness camp is being conducted by the KVIB authorities. Majority of the beneficiaries of the programme are either the relatives of the Board staff or the people having some knowledge about the KVIB sponsored programmes.
Sources in the Industries department disclosed that as per the Board Act, meeting of the KBIV is mandatory at least after every quarter, that is four times in a year but unfortunately during last three years, not even a single meeting of the Board was held. After taking over the regime by PDP-BJP, the new Government failed to appoint even the new Board members in last over two years. The height of non-seriousness on the part of PDP-BJP Government could be gauged from the fact that hardly one month ago a 15-member Board was constituted, with nine non-official members.
The employees of the KVIB are the worst sufferers in view of the non-conduct of Board meetings in time while un-employed educated youth of the State are the prime victims due to lethargic attitude of the Government. Due to acute shortage of staff and non-serious approach of the Government towards this organization, three sub offices of the KVIB at Billawar in district Kathua, Nowshera in Rajouri district and Beerwah in Budgam have been virtually closed down.
The higher authorities in the department are least bothered about this unfortunate development. Instead of expansion, the KVIB is winding up its offices which is matter of concern for the people of these areas . Even the public representatives (MLAs/MLCs) of the areas are also silent over the matter.
Sources further revealed that the State Government has kept an amount of just Rs 4 lakh annually for the publicity and organizing awareness camps in all the 22 districts of the State. With this meager amount, it is not possible to hold good number of camps in all the districts of the State. Such camps are needed to be organised at Tehsil and Sub Division level so that educated unemployed youth across the State could be made aware of the assistance provided by the KVIB to set up industrial units/ establishments and run small business/ service units as well.
It further disclosed that KVIB under Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) is providing loans to the educated unemployed youth up to Rs 25 lakh for setting up their own industrial units and establish business, workshops, Agro, Food, Textiles and Forest based industries. In service industry also, the KVIC offers handsome loan to the youth and provides subsidy to the limit of 30 to 35 %. Mineral based and handmade paper/ fiber products units too, have great scope for the J&K youth. Even those having qualification of just Middle pass (8th) can too avail loan benefit up to Rs 10 lakhs under PMEGP.
Minister for Industries and Commerce, Chander Parkash said that in the upcoming Board meeting, the matter with the regard to the revival/ functioning of three sub offices of KVIB at Billawar, Nowshera and Beerwah will be taken up. The details with regard to these offices and over all performance of their districts will also be collected. Accordingly, a decision will be taken in this regard. He said Board meeting had been earlier fixed for March 4 but it could not be held due to non-availability of some official members.
Commenting on the poor publicity and awareness campaign, the Minister said funding for the same is being provided by the Govt of India. The KVIB is mainly dependent on the Central sponsored schemes and funds. Seminars, workshops etc are organised in some districts as per the capacity and stalls are also set up during various exhibitions and fairs for creating awareness.
He, however, admitted that there was still need to spend more funds for the publicity/ awareness of various KVIB schemes for the educated unemployed youth of the State. The Minister further said that he was not satisfied with the kind of support accorded by the banks to the youth cleared by the district level task force.
Secretary J&K KVIB, Mir Afroz when contacted said that Board is implementing only Centrally sponsored schemes. He said 40 % of the PMEGP loan projects are being executed by KVIB while some other agencies including District Industries Centers (DICs) are also engaged for the same. There is need to have some State funded schemes so that more and more unemployed educated youth are benefitted.
Replying to a question with regard to the performance of the KVIB, Afroz said that during 2016-2017, a target of 893 projects was fixed by the Govt, with margin money worth Rs 1786 lakh for 7144 beneficiaries (employment). A total 3244 applications of the youth were received. The district level task force (screening committee) cleared 1589 cases of which 1318 were forwarded to the different banks for loans. 340 cases have been sanctioned by the banks , 160 rejected while 818 cases are still pending sanctions. Under MUDRA Scheme total 750 cases were sponsored with an amount of Rs 1324. 61 lakhs. Of the total, 314 cases were sanctioned in Kashmir while 436 in Jammu division. He claimed that target of the Board has also been affected due to unrest in Kashmir.
Afroz disclosed that Board has the distinction of being appointed as nodal agency for the implementation of SFURTI funded projects. He disclosed that SFURTI is basically the Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industry. He said 37 proposals have been submitted to the Govt of India for the clearance.
Regarding shortage of staff, the KVIB Secretary said that the process has been started by the Board and it will be completed shortly. He said the Board was constituted recently and next Board meeting is also being held with in two-three weeks. The issues related to the welfare of employees and of other nature, will be addressed in the next meeting, he added.
Afroz said that about Rs 18 crore is the annual salary component of the KVIB staff which is borne by the State Government. It needs some State aided projects/ schemes for which request has been made to the Minister for Industries and Commerce.
Another senior officer of KVIB said that matter regarding sanction of more and more cases by the banks has also been taken up with the concerned quarters. The youth mainly face difficulties as their cases are rejected sometimes due to minor hiccups by the bankers. The banks must take some lenient view and offer a couple of chances to complete formalities to the youth intending to set up own units. They must encourage and facilitate the unemployed youth in better way while clearing their cases, he added.