No encouraging response from India Inc on investments: Omar

No encouraging response from India Inc on investments: Omar

27 January 2012
The Daily Excelsior


New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said industrialists have not given any encouraging response on investing in the State despite repeated proposals sent to them. Speaking on the sidelines of the release of a 'Perception survey of media impact on the Kashmiri youth', he said 'the response is not very encouraging'. When asked about his expectations from the Budget, Omar said the package of incentives for Jammu and Kashmir should be extended further. 'Our package of incentives is due to expire. We want it to be extended,' he said. According to the survey, nearly 60 per cent Kashmiri youths read both local English and Urdu dailies while national newspapers are being read by only 17 per cent of them. However, the survey by the Institute for Research on India and International Studies, commissioned by the Centre, added that this is not the indicator of their preferences along because most national dailies do not reach the Valley in morning hours, a fact corroborate by the Chief Minister, who chaired the discussion. The survey says international channels are considered best for getting reliable information while local channels have edge over State-run and private Indian news channels. Nidhi Razdan, NDTV's Associate Editor (Foreign Affairs), said a worrying trend in national media is parachute journalism. 'One of the biggest problems with national media is that we parachute into Jammu and Kashmir when there is a crisis situation and there are people who go there for three or four days. We talk to a few people in Down Town and they come thinking that they know everything. They have understood what people of Kashmir want... And that translates into kind of columns and editorials we see,' she said. The survey, led by Navnita Chadha Behera, of IRIIS said TV and radio channel rank highest mode of getting news and entertainment by youths who constitute 48 per cent of the population in the Valley. 'Among these, State-run TV and radio channels including DD News and DD Kashir, All India Radio and Radio Kashmir constitute single largest source of news which are watched by 74 per cent of the youth. The local channels in comparison are watched by 49 per cent of the youth though these have been banned from telecasting any news programs since September 2010,' the survey said. The findings suggest that foreign channels like BBC and CNN are watched by 43 per cent youth while private Indian channels are watched by 41 per cent. Middle East channels like Al Jazeera, Peace TV and Press TV have a sizable presence among youths with 27 per cent youths watching them. Omar said earlier he used to think that no one watched Doordarshan and so why to waste time speaking to them but now he would look for Doordarshan for airing his views. He said the survey was commissioned by Government of India so one can always blame for such findings but he hopes that more and more such independent research projects are undertaken to reveal other aspects of Jammu and Kashmir. 'I hope that such surveys are taken up in Jammu and Ladakh to get perceptions of young people there,' said senior journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, who was member of the group of Interlocutors appointed by Union Home Ministry. He said there were great discrepancies in reporting of and comments on an event in Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh regions. Padgaonkar said the findings of the survey corroborate to very large extents the observations of the group of Interlocutors. The survey revealed that no more than 20-26 per cent of youths are following the news of the rest of the country. The findings suggest that 67 per cent youth believe that Kashmiri Pandits should return to the Valley but 70 per cent among them said they had done nothing about it. Nearly one-third of the over 1300 surveyed youths said corruption remains top-most issue concerning Kashmir. It said 61 per cent of the youths were listening to religious sermons on their MP3 players while a sizable 25 per cent were listening to jihadi speeches. The survey says a small segment of them is also watching programs on Islam on Peace TV, Press TV, Al Jazeera and PTV. The discussions on the survey at the India International Centre took a heated turn as some Kashmiri Pandits present there took objections to few comments made by panelists. They accused the survey organisers to have ignored the views of Kashmiri Pandits who are living a life of exile. Omar tried to convince them that it was a completely academic exercise to understand what was going in the minds of youths living in the Valley and what triggered and caused the violence during the 2010 summer but slogans were raised during the discussion. Behera, who led the study, said the survey was administered in January 2011 in the six districts of Kashmir valley one each from a rural and urban location in South Kashmir, North Kashmir and Central Kashmir. These included Srinagar and Budgam in Central Kashmir, Anantnag and Kulgam in South Kashmir and Baramulla and Bandipora in North Kashmir.