SRINAGAR: The Union Territory administration would soon set up the first industrial estate for women entrepreneurs. “The Women Industrial Estate will come up at Udhampur Industrial Estate in Jammu region. It will further strengthen the women entrepreneurs ecosystem in J&K,” Lt Governor Manoj Sinha announced while launching Mission ‘One Gram Panchayat-One DIGI-Pay Sakhi’ in J&K. The Department of Revenue has handed over a total of 8,527 Kanals of state land at 21 sites to the Industries and Commerce Department in Udhampur for setting up the industrial estate.
Initially, the DIGI-Pay facility will be provided in 2,000 remote villages and in the first phase, 80 women from Self Help Groups have been selected as DIGI-Pay Sakhis. Sinha said his administration is taking several ground-breaking steps to transform the lives of women of Jammu and Kashmir, especially those living in rural areas by engaging them into gainful livelihood interventions.
It is not known whether the women industrial estate would be set up on a portion of this industrial estate or separate land would be identified for setting up the women industrial estate. Senior businessman and former senior vice president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Sheikh Nasir termed the setting up of first women industrial estate in J&K a welcome step.
“Women empowerment is always welcome. However, the women industrial estate should also be set up in the Valley. Many women entrepreneurs in the Valley are involved in cottage industry, handcrafts and food industry. Besides, there are many women entrepreneurs in small scale industries,” he said adding that setting up exclusive industrial estate for women entrepreneurs would encourage more women to take to business and set up small and big units, thus providing employment to the local youth.
J&K Lt Governor said with increasing female literacy rate, providing access to quality education, encouraging more women to become entrepreneurs and providing financial support for the upliftment of women, J&K is leading by example in terms of women empowerment.