Srinagar  23 Dec:

Fayaz Ahmad Punjabi

Jr. Vice President KCC&I

A delegation of The Kashmir Chamber Of Commerce & Industry (Inc) headed by its  President Mr. Javid Ahmad Tenga, held the Pre-Budget discussion in a meeting  with the Hon’ble Finance Minister Of J&K, Mr. Haseeb Drabu today on 23rd of December, 2017 at  Srinagar.

Detailed suggestions as under have been submitted by the Chamber to the Finance Minister for being considered  and included  in the Budget while finalizing the budget proposal of the State for the year 2018-19.

The Hon’ble Finance Minister assured the delegation that the suggestions as discussed will receive due consideration while formulating the said Budget proposals. He however agreed to consider on priority the following sectors as pleaded by the KCC&I delegation.

i.  Tourism: All relevant benefits otherwise available to the industrial sector will be extended to the Tourism as it has been  declared as  industry in 1995 but in the first instance the  anomaly viz-a-viz power tariff of this sector with other industrial sectors will be sorted out immediately.

ii.   Handicraft: (a) Due budgetary support will be provided for promotion of  handicraft through important national and international Buyer Seller Meets.

(b) It was also agreed by the Hon’ble Finance Minister that the Dastkaar Scheme loan limit will be enhanced from Rs. 1 lac to 4 lac.

RESCHEDULE  LOANS:-

The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry is deeply concerned at the condition of the borrowers of various financial institutions who have defaulted or are on the verge of default due to circumstances beyond their control. This has unfortunately continued despite the re-schedulements/restructuring and grant of moratoriums on loans. In this regard, the KCC&I has been advocating intervention of both the State and the Central Government for provisioning for the interest portion of the borrowings so that the burden is reduced on the borrowers and they are in a position to get back on their feet. We would request you to kindly provide for an amount of  at least 600 crores on this account so that we could also petition the Central Government for the balance amount.

1.   HANDICRAFTS/ HANDLOOM SECTOR:-

The handicraft sector has proved to be the spine of the state economy during most trying times. Handicrafts being  environment  friendly, a dependable  contributor to the state economy   and  employment generator  needs urgent attention  of the government  to not only to  nurture  and  preserve it, but also to carry forward our sacred tradition nurtured over ages by hundreds of  thousands of our Artisans who with their master craftsmanship  skills created  artifacts that earned the name and  fame for the State and in the process created “Brand Kashmir”. The KCC&I would suggest the provisions to be considered to be made in the ensuing  Budget of the State .           

a)   As your good self is aware the Handicraft Sector has not been doing well and need due promotion and   exploration of markets world wide. The KCC&I therefore suggest that budgetary provision of Rs. 15.00 Crores be made for participation in national and international important Buyer-Seller Meets.

b)   The interest subsidy provided by government to the extent of 10% on the present level of artisan loans is not going to help as the amount of loan given under artisan loan presently under finance them as there was a need to provide this interest subsidy for loans of higher denomination that is up to 4 lac which is the minimum required by a carpet weaver to make a silk carpet of good quality besides a shawl artisan to make a high value shawl which is required by the market. The J&K bank has a Dastkar Finance scheme already in place for these artisans. The artisans as well as trade have been clamoring for it to make the product competitive besides giving the artisan enough time to hold his produce to get a good price which will not help our artisans to become independent but empowered also.

c)   Waiver of Artisan Loan has been assured by Hon’ble Chief Minister to the KCC&I in the interactive meeting held with her on 2nd November, 2017.Budgetary provisions be made for debt relief  to the Artisans.

d)   Provision for establishing Raw Material Bank for the handicraft sector.

2. TOURISM SECTOR:-

  TOURISM AS AN INDUSTRY:

The Tourism sector had been declared as an industry in the year 1995 but the  benefits and incentives applicable to the Industries still elude this important sector. The industry is hardly entitled to any benefits under any other policy. The KCC&I suggests that tourism industry be treated at par with SSI/MSME and given such benefits as would help promotion and the growth with a potential to contribute to the State Grass Domestic Product and generation of employment with budgetary provisions suggested as under.

a)   Adequate budgetary provision be made for construction of common STPs.

b)   Provision for allowing the tourism industry power tariff as applicable to the industrial sector.

c)    Provision for air ticket insurance.

3.   GENERAL TRADE:-

As it is an established fact that the General Trade contributes to the growth of economy of the state in multiple ways the following provisions are suggested to be made in the ensuing Budget:-

a)   Budgetary provisions be made for providing  financial support to the traders to help ease their capital which has shrunk to the extent of 28% with the implementation of GST in the State.

b)   The demands raised on account of VAT cases be withdrawn and written off so as not to reflect in the budget. In business and trade as per Government estimates the State suffered a loss of Rs 16000.00 crore. The damaged stocks/ loss worth Rs. 16000.00 as per government estimate, are subjected to VAT/other taxes. Even if rules do not permit tax exemption, 90 percent depreciation value of the tax liability can be calculated. This will give a lot of relief to traders and businessmenWe also need a moratorium of three years to traders and business people manufacturers on working capital/ loans outstanding particularly cc a/c holders and treat the loan liability with soft interest or interest subsidy could be provided by budgetary provision.

c)   Budgetary provision for rehabilitation of traders who had suffered in the 2014 floods but were not insured and have not received any relief to re-establish their business either.

d)   As long pending demand of wholesale traders for allocating ware housing facility is still to be fulfilled same may be done now as soon as possible. As the traders are otherwise suffering due to ban on heavy vehicles in the city. It is requested to allot space to the trades for ware housing in bye-pass area which is always remains open for  heavy traffic.

e) We request one time Amnesty in lieu of recoveries on account of non-receipt of Form-C  against sales made to registered dealers.

4.   HORTICULTURE/AGRICULTURE:-

As the Horticulture is one of the major contributors to the state economy the KCC&I would suggest to make necessary provisions for the for the horticulture and agriculture to be made for :-

a)   Adequate budgetary provisions need to be made for the horticulture research and development.

b)   Our state  being an agrarian state   there should be a full focus in Budget for boosting agri-flori-horticulture start-up, start-up fund targeted for getting young generation in to primary source of income that agriculture etc. Start-up fund should be established helping in leasing of land and expenses. target agri products can be Dals, lavender, rose, high density apple, potato, herbal plants, spices etc.. We also propose the government should establish a  horticulture  estate spread over  an area of 3000 – 5000 kanals in all the Districts on the pattern of industrial estates  and  based on our estimation  we can safely say that this  estate shall generate revenue to the tune of  150 crores in first  3 to 4 years. This shall  be  one of the best  horticulture   innovation ever done in anywhere in India. Funds should be given upfront to lease and royalty should be given to state government.

5.   INDUSTRIAL SECTOR:-

For growth of industry to generate employment/revenue in the  state the KCC&I would suggest provisions be made for the following

a)   START-UP FUND :-

Start-up fund, once an prospective entrepreneur registers under the scheme of fund. He should be entitled to maximum of 3%  total cost of project of impetus fund once his business is launched and found healthy. This fund should come as reward and in a way help the start-up ecosystem, for his business this will give it less time to reach break even more success rate.

b)    LAND BANK:-

Land bank should be created in already established estates of J&K, and premium of 5 lac should be divided into as 25% to be paid at allotment, rest 75% in 8 equal installment for period of next 2 years and lease Deed to be executed after completion of 100% and the scheme should be applicable to all entrepreneurs below the age of 30.

c)   TECHNOCRAT:-

Technocrat subsidy of 5% interest rebate to entrepreneur of JK. It was supposed to be great attraction for professional degree holders living outside keen to start venture in valley. 5 percent interest rebate on any loan for business should be re established. As was up to 16 March 2017 expenditure to state not more than 10 crores annually.

d)   PROMOTION:- 

Budget for promotion & digital marketing of e-commerce sites trying to promote Kashmir based products.

Promotional budget for manufacturers: state should revise promotional and branding subsidy and earmark budget for promotion of Kashmir manufactured products, maximum of 10 % of DPR of whole project.

e) Budgetary provision for Revival of Public Sector undertakings so that turned in to revenue /employment generating institutions through PPP mode.

f) COLD STORAGE:-

The food processing units particularly the cold storages are needed in hundreds to cater to the loss which presently happens because of mis-match between the capacity of production and cold storage space and it is important that the budget should  provide funds for viability gaps (where in the State shall also contribute towards the subsidy amount  on the pattern of subsidy pronounced in that sector by the MIDH Govt. of India) as well as initial investments as apart of equity for local entrepreneurs. This is the only model which will entice locals to put such units and which will with time get our such industry better money for the produce which has been proved with the units already set up and there may be also a need of reducing the power tariff for such units and makes special dispensation as we understand that the cost of holding the produce for a long time may not be possible with high tariffs.

6.   POWER SECTOR:-

As our state is rich in water resource and could have been used for Hydro Power generation since last 70 years but due to uncertain political reasons same stands yet to be utilized in even to our own need. We propose a global invitation to companies for investment and better arrangement than NHPC. So that state power requirement is fully achieved and revenue assured.

7.   PROVISIONS FOR CONFLICT INSURANCE COVER.

 

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