Buoyed by central package J&K eyes foreign investments

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Drabu seeks public-private participation with land as equity for builders and developers

Dubai: Jammu and Kashmir expects the recently announced federal package of Rs 80,000 Crore ($12 billion) to rekindle interest among foreign investors, state’s finance minister Haseeb Drabu said on Tuesday.

 “The new government is in place and they have done a lot of innovative policy and the biggest thing about J&K is that the number of economic legislations that hamper investments in mainland India don’t apply in our state; so to that extent a lot of investments can come in specific sectors,” Drabu, who is here to attend UAE-India Economic Forum was quoted by Gulf News as saying.

“We are looking at power as one, hospitality, education, where we will set up special economic zones, and also agriculture,” Drabu said, adding that he feels that J&K is the most empowered state, and that can be leveraged to speed-track all investments.

“More than incentives, we are looking at infrastructure. We just got a near Rs1 trillion package from the central government for infrastructure, and that would be the kicker for economy and this is the right time for private investors to come in and to collaborate with rebuilding of the state because it has undergone fair amount of devastation both political and post the floods,” Drabu said. “This would be the right time for investors to look at opportunities.”

Prime Minister Modi had said in early November that funds would not be a constraint in building a modern, progressive and prosperous state.

The government is also giving importance to revive tourism in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We are now building the tourism infrastructure, and also incentivising tourism through tax incentives and others,” Drabu said.

The government is also looking to build a new model of public-private participation with land as equity for builders and developers.

“We invite investors from Dubai in hospitality and real estate to look at it and see how the opportunity is and the key to that is public-private participation,” he added.

Srinagar was hardest hit after the rain-swollen River Jhelum burst its banks in September 2014 leaving thousands stranded.

The floods killed 300 people and caused an estimated $16 billion worth of damage, with thousands of homes and large tracts of farmland ruined, according to official data.

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