Jammu and Kashmir Bank’s J&K) performance during 2019-20 augurs well for the economic health of the Union Territory. One can see that the Union Territory’s all-round economic activities including manufacturing, business, agriculture, animal husbandry, public health and utilities and industry-oriented education are all going on the right track despite COVID-19.
The Bank’s Balance Sheet for the financial year 2019-20 showed an operating profit of Rs. 1525.05 crore. The Bank has made big changes in its lending policy and public service, according to its Chairman and Managing Director R.K. Chibber.
He told the Annual General Body meeting of its shareholders last month that how the Bank has shifted its focus to retail and agriculture lending across the country and corporate lending has been restricted to top-rated corporate.
The shift has begun yielding favourite results”. This was a great achievement in the face of Covid-19 which has caused the world over unprecedented disruption in the economic activities.
The Bank has played a crucial role in reviving business life in the Union Territory and restoring people’s faith in it. The Bank’s campaign to expand its Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) services is proving a great boon to its customers. Mr Chibber, on another occasion, said it was Bank’s mission to extend basic banking services to people irrespective of their location and status.
The health of Jammu and Kashmir Bank being in the pink has its reflection on all segments of life-economic and social. The success of the back to village programme, agriculture education’s enthusiasm to push this sector beyond traditional farming, the spread of education, the success of tourism industry, the supply of electricity and tap water to every home and the popularity of Panchayats all owe, directly or indirectly to the good health of Jammu and Kashmir Bank.
The back to village programme is proceeding according to the plan. Its first two phases recorded success. Now it is in its third phase. Economic sustainability of the village people has been the target of these three phases Jammu and Kashmir Bank has shifted to lending Policy in favour of retailers and farmers. It is expanding to ATM facilities to benefit farmers and also women.
To make villages economically viable for villagers there is a proposal to promote rural tourism which would create an economic chain by helping villagers to display their crafts and their tourism and cultural potential.
In fact, what is called Kashmiri art and craft and culture are all rooted in its villages. It will boost the cottage industry. It is proposed that the year 2021 will be promoted as “Dekho Apna Desh” to boost domestic tourism.
One known reason why people leave their hearth and home in their native villages is the feeling they cannot get justice there. But now with a strong Panchayat system backed by the people such a feeling may go. It is through Panchayats that the Rural Developments Department looks into issues concerning wage payment of various works under it.
Farmer’s dependence on their cattle is crucial. In case they fall sick or die, the farmer is ruined. To mitigate their tragedy, Deputy Commissioner of Baramulla Dr G. N. Ittoo launched the National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP) which will provide free vaccination to cattle.
He said various initiatives were being taken to help cattle rearer. All this is to boost daily development. He suggested that young people should choose dairy development as their careers.
There is a piece of good news for poor villagers. The Union Territory Government has launched a unique scheme to make poor villagers owners of sheep or goats for free.
Under this scheme, says Principal Secretary of Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department Navin K Choudhary, each beneficiary of this scheme will be given 25 sheep or 10 goats free with the condition that in the third year of this gift the receiver will start going to the Department with five young ones of sheep or two of goats till the fifth year.
Thus it is a win-win case for the Department and the receiver of sheep or goats. This scheme is part of the just-launched Integrated Sheep Development Scheme 2020-21. It aims at bridging the gap between demand and supply of mutton in the Union Territory.
Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir (SKUASTK) with its researched inputs and innovative ideas is a great boost to not only agriculture but fishery, too.