The UT of Jammu & Kashmir is well known for its geographic uniqueness and abundance of natural resources. The state is rich in water and plant cover resources, which makes it a home for various niche industries particular to such geographies. The UT is home to Silk textile, Carpet making and Woollen textile, Forest based industries, Paper Machine, Cement industry and Industrial complexes. As it is logical for industries to be located near the locations where raw material is easily available and so is the transport facility for marketing of the finished goods. UT offers a unique set of ecosystems where raw material, skilled man power and now much improved transport facilities are available, leading to growth in such industries.
Sericulture is one such industry which has caught the eye of government and folks alike. Known for its low investment and higher returns, it suits farmers and artisans in rural sector providing income and employment opportunities to the society. Historically, though there is no exact date of origin of sericulture in Jammu & Kashmir , but the oldest written chronicle of Kashmir – Rajtarangani carries the mention of it. The similar mentions in Mahabharata and Ramayana prove that sericulture is being practiced in this region from time immemorial. The sericulture industry was government controlled till 1988 and was not an economically lucrative option as it is being seen now a days. Post the removal of government control, the industry grew at snail’s pace. However, the policies introduced by government post 2017, the industry breathed an air of prosperity and growth. Secondly, the 2014 flood have rendered most of the Silk industry non-functional.
The Silk Samagra Yojana launched in 2017 – 18 by the central government lead to the revival of the industry and infused a new life in dying cottage industry which is source of income to many weaker sections of the society. It leads to the direct help of 900 Silkworm rearing and establishment of 618 new silkworm rearing houses. The UT government has increased funds from 30 lakh to 3.5 crores. The allotment of Rs 35 crore under the second phase of Silk Samagra Yojana will directly benefit 27000 families in the valley. The Union Ministry of Textile is helping the UT government in any possible way to revive the Silk industry of valley. It is all due to the results of these policies by Union and state government that the Rajbagh Silk Factory situated on the bank of river Jhelum has seen eight fold increases in Silk production in last one year alone. The no of varieties of silk produced that has gone down to eight from 38 has been revived to 23 varieties. This government initiative to revive the traditional industries in UT of Jammu and Kashmir is not only limited to Sericulture but attempt is being made to revive all the crafts related industries located in the Himalayan region. In line with that, seven crafts have got the GI tagging completed and similarly Kashmir Basmati and Saffron have also got the GI tagging to avoid counter branding.
All these government initiatives and improved security scenario of UT have resulted in easy availability of silk products in global market and common man of Kashmir who is behind these silk crafts unique to Kashmir is the real beneficiary.
Revival of Sericulture in Kashmir is going to benefit numerous families and catalyse the pace of development in Kashmir through increased job opportunities to the youth of the Valley...