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Kashmir Inc. sends SOS to govt, seeks its share from Rs 20 lakh crore package

Srinagar: Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has sent an SOS to the government after the business community was unable to avail the benefits of Centre’s Rs 20 lakh crore package.

“With major accounts under stress, borrowers are prevented from availing benefits of schemes including Rs 20 Lakh Crore package announced by the central government. Their stressed accounts debar them from qualifying for the guidelines,” said a spokesman of KCCI after a meeting of stakeholders.

The meeting was presided over by Nasir Hamid Khan, Senior Vice President, KCCI. During the meeting, the representatives deliberated upon the various problems faced by the industrial sector. 

“Members stated that major changes in the government policies like the implementation of GST had resulted in aggravating the stress on the local industries and caused severe capital contraction. The financial institutions have not so far provided the needed support to help the industries tide over this crisis,” he said.

The spokesman noted that members stated that the local industrial sector is witnessing its worst period because of the withdrawal of support by the government. 

“The lack of budgetary assistance and abolition of Toll Tax without the announcement of any substituting protective mechanism had severely impacted the local industry of Kashmir. Members complained that non-adherence to the industrial policy providing for price preference to local units, delayed reimbursements of CGST and SGST,” he said.

Members, he said, raised the issues of disparities in the disbursal of reimbursement vide SROs 63, 519, and 521. They stated that the incentives tended to be more in favor of new units while the existing units were left in the lurch.

“They urged the KCCI to ensure that the incentives and reimbursements needed to be uniform so that all local industries have a level competitive field. They suggested that interventions like providing of Working Capital at concessional interest rates, waiver of interest for the period of lockdown, rescheduling repayment plans, lowering of Power Tariff and waiver of demand charges, reduction of SIDCO/SICOP rental charges, were required to provide breathing space to the local industries,” he said. 

Members pointed out that SIDCO, SFC, and DFC needs to be reinvigorated to provide the necessary support to the local industries. The absence of fully functional offices of important institutions like the SIDBI and NABARD in Kashmir was a cause of concern. 

“Members dealing in the food processing industry stated that the absence of a common Testing Laboratory was creating difficulties in their sector. They stated that price fixation policy by the government in Jammu and Kashmir had deprived the public of the premium quality products. They stated that the policy had prevented open competition which would have ultimately benefited the consumers through improved quality products,” he said. 

The spokesman noted that the stakeholders were unanimous about the failure of the single window system and the concept of ease of doing business.  “Prolonged gestation period in getting various clearances result in loss of the critical time which deprives units from availing the benefits of industrial policies,” he said.