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Saturday, 5 January 2013

Mercy Corps pitches for Islamic banking in Kashmir

Srinagar, Jan 4: Global humanitarian relief organization, the Mercy Corps, has in its latest report pitched for Islamic banking in Kashmir. 

“The (Islamic banking) concept is an increasing phenomenon in the West and across the globe. Shariah-complaint financial products and services should be developed and made available to Kashmir,” the agency has said in its latest report which it presented to the state government.

Underlining the importance of loans and start-up capital for promoting entrepreneurship, the NGO has recommended to the state government to provide hassle-free finances to educated youth. 

In its ‘Start-up Kashmir Youth Entrepreneur (SKYE) Development Project, the agency has compiled the report based on research conducted through sampling. The report has urged the state government to encouraging entrepreneurship by giving easier access to youth to finances.

“Rather than offering ‘free money’, the state government should make access to finances easier with more favourable terms and conditions (soft loans, etc) to youth,” it reads.

Pertinently, the state government has been continuously stating that it cannot provide government jobs to all the educated youth and has been urging them to focus on private sector and entrepreneurship. 
“The state government should carry mass awareness programs for their staff to orient them towards implementing various start-up financial services and products offered through public sector schemes,” it states. 

“Awareness campaigns, publications, websites, books and guides should be developed to help Kashmiris youth gain knowledge, understanding and awareness of various start-up services and products available in Kashmir through financial institutions,” the report reads. 

The agency in its recommendations for promoting entrepreneurship has suggested to the banks operating in the state to drop their risk-averse approach to lending to youth and focus on actively seeking out, identifying and financial potential high-impact Kashmiris youth start-ups.

“Banks should sponsor business plan competitions to identify such entrepreneurs. JK Bank should seriously explore creating a range of specialized financial products for youth entrepreneurs with less stringent and more targeted conditions.”

“The processing time of loans for youth should be reduced to minimum possible level, and banks should create financial awareness among Kashmiri youth by holding awareness programs on the process and procedures for applying for loans,” the report said.

It adds that funding to start-up entrepreneurs should be included in the list of public services under the newly enacted Public Service Guarantee Act.

(Greater Kashmir / 04 Jan 2013)

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