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Pre-budget meeting: Kashmir Inc highlights ‘precarious’ economic condition of businesses

Srinagar, Dec 9: Complaining non-implementation of the previous budgetary allocations, Kashmir Inc Sunday urged the Governor Satya Pal Malik to consider threads of previous announcements before compiling a fresh annual budget.

A delegation of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (Inc) headed by its President Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, participated in the pre-budget discussions with Advisor to Governor, Kewal Kumar Sharma.

As per the statement, KCCI apprised Advisor to Governor about the ‘precarious economic condition of the businesses.’

“Since the previous budget was presented on 11th of January, 2018, we have witnessed no less than four changes in the ministers and 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.” the statement said.

“We suggest that, as a first step, the threads be picked up from the previous budget and announcements made therein regarding trade, commerce and industry be acted upon urgently. Stability and continuity in fiscal policies is essential for ensuring appropriate growth and development,” it added.

Kashmir Inc also urged the Governor led administration to finalise the financial package to assist traders in coping the loss post 2016 unrest.

“In view of the unrest of 2016 further impairing the capacity of businesses to repay their loans, the then Government had taken up the case for giving a suitable financial package with the Central Government and the Reserve Bank of India. 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,” the statement said.

“The problems caused due to the delay in releasing of GST refunds to our industrial sector was also taken up,” it added.

KCCI in the meeting appealed the Governor for hiring a highly professional PR firm to counter negative publicity given by sections of media.

“We 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 need for inclusion of tour and travel operators for availing various marketing and promotional schemes at national and global levels was also discussed,” the statement said.

“The Budget allocation for tourism promotion was requested to be augmented. The diversion of funds from the Prime Ministers package meant for interest subvention for Hoteliers was also taken up. The delegation also strongly protested the non-implementation of budgetary commitments regarding the electricity tariff on industrial rates.”

For handicraft sector, the apex business body urged for need to allocate Rs 2.5 lakh to cover financial debts of artisans.

“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 as per the statement urged for allocation for Information Technology Tower on the lines of the Software Technology Park of India (STPI) in Kashmir.

It said the problems in power sector were duly appraised to the Advisor to the Governor.

“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 statement said.