Srinagar: A delegation of The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) headed by its President Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, participated in the pre-budget discussions with KK Sharma, Advisor to the Governor, Jammu & Kashmir on Sunday.
KCCI said that the condition of the economy is precarious.
“The Government has also expressed its concern at the last few years being damaging for the business establishments and of the dire need for putting in place serious enabling measures for supporting them in this hour of weak growth and uncertainty. That was nine months ago. The stress has steadily worsened since then.”
“The instability on the political front has created further complications. You would appreciate that since the previous budget was presented on 11th of January, 2018, we have witnessed no less than four changes in the Ministers/Advisors in charge of the Finance Department. As a result, the policy to aid and enable businesses has not taken off as envisaged in the previous budget. Most of the announcements made have either not been acted upon or stand shelved.”
KCCI said that as a first step, the threads be picked up from the previous budget and announcements made and act upon them urgently.
KCCI raised the “CM’s Business Interest Relief Scheme” which was announced as an interim measure to support the businesses till the proposed financial package was finalized. “We urge you to kindly take up the finalisation of a package for which Central Government and RBI intervention at the highest level may be required.”
KCCI discussed and sought specific interventions for Tourism, Handicrafts, Industries, Horticulture, Power, General Trade, Information Technology and other sectors.
For the tourism sector, the KCCI, among other things, urged for upgradation of the tourism related infrastructure and engagement of a professional PR Firm for countering of negative publicity given by sections of the media.
The diversion of funds from the Prime Ministers package meant for interest subvention for Hoteliers was also taken up.
The delegation protested the non-implementation of budgetary commitments regarding the electricity tariff on industrial rates.
The Kashmir Chamber raised the need for allocations for the 2.5 lakhs artisans who were under huge financial debts. The issue of creation of a Carpet Village for which already recommendations had been made was also discussed. The delegation sought marketing assistance for ensuring rotation of carpet stocks and other handicraft products. The negative impact of GST on our handicraft sector and the need for it’s removal was also highlighted.
The Chamber urged for allocation for a Information Technology Tower on the lines of the Software Technology Park of India (STPI) in Kashmir and pressed for SGST exemptions for national level players who offload their work through this IT Tower.
“This would boost the local IT talent and open up new avenues for employment. Various other proposals for engagement of local IT Professionals were taken up for discussions.”
The lack of proper warehousing facilities for the businesses was also taken up and facilitation of warehousing in industrial areas was also discussed.
“The problems being faced by the Power Sector were brought to the notice of the Hon’ble Advisor. Several suggestions were made for encouraging private investment like execution of Power Purchase Agreements with the private sector for hydro projects upto 25mw. A special budgetary allocation for the infusion of Capital Equity by the State Government for projects under PMDP Schemes was discussed. The delegation also urged for finalisation of the Hydro Policy for JKSPDC for Small Hydro Independent Power Producers (IPP’s) for facilitation of local players. The delegation also discussed the potential and problems with regard to utilisation of solar power sources in the State,” KCCI said.
The problems caused due to the delay in releasing of GST refunds to industrial sector was also taken up.
The Chamber delegation for the government extending support for new Walnut Processing Units, Nurseries and Controlled Atmosphere Cold Stores expressed concern at the delay in finalisation of guidelines for it’s implementation, despite the passage of a reasonable amount of time.
The Chamber delegation also requested for allocations to cater to the Poultry Industry for which purpose a new policy was being rolled out.