The real philosophy behind establishing as many as 7 Corporations in the State’s was that semi-private sector needed to be encouraged and supported so that the State’s industrial base is strengthened. Actually PSU promises better work culture and output in comparison to an organization fully controlled by the Government. Encouraging PSUs is a nation-wide phenomenon. By and large PSUs have been working satisfactorily in other States of the country and have been showing profit against investment.
However, the case of six out of seven major Corporations in the State is a dismal story of recurring losses and no hope of their recovery. Before we proceed to describe the nature of loses, it has to be told that six out of seven Corporations have become a source of big liability on the State exchequer. These are J&K Minerals Limited, J&K Cements Ltd, J&K Handicrafts (S&E) Corporation, J&K Industries Limited, J&K Handloom Development Corporation and J&K State Industrial Development Corporation. Each Corporation has its own tale and a plethora of excuses to justify existence and remain in place.
It has to be noted that the CAG team, after visiting the State and taking stock of the progress of tax realization and some more related matters, had also interacted with the seniors of these Corporations. The CAG team was not satisfied with the performance of these units and clearly recommended that the Corporations should be dissolved. However, the State Government did not accept this part of the recommendations of CAG and the six Corporations continue to be the white elephant for the State Exchequer. Obviously, the State Government feels that closing down the Corporations would send industries to the backburner and thousands of employees working in these organizations would be out of work and thus add to the unemployed youth of the State. We do understand the human aspect of the issue and we have appreciation for the Government to try to reform the functionality of the Corporations. But the very fact that Corporations are running on deficit will force the Government to take drastic steps perhaps short of closing them down. These Corporations are running under the administration of the Department of Industries and Commerce. Unfortunately, the way in which these units, and particularly the controlling agency are handling the critical situation, is dismaying. Of course, as there is the report of the CAG, it should be properly debated in the Legislature to make sure that very positive and concrete steps can be suggested for pulling these Corporations out of the mess. We cannot recommend their closure because it will spell disaster for thousands of workers and their families. Therefore it is imperative for the Department of Industries and Commerce to give priority to this issue and find out a solution. It should not be difficult to retrieve the situation and for the retrieval whatever drastic steps need to be taken should be taken. We know that even the Legislators, too, had been asking for the closure of the units for reasons of these running on a loss. We appeal the legislators to begin with some positive approach and not jump to the last resort.
Reports of large scale corruption, nepotism and mismanagement have been coming in regularly about some of these units. It should be possible to overcome these faults through administrative measures. We need a strong chief executive for each Corporation who understands the mind of the manpower working under him. If handled properly, it should be possible to bring about healthy reforms in the public sector units. All is not lost.