Budget fails to impress Kashmir biz fraternity

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Srinagar, Jan 11: The valley’s business fraternity is “unhappy” with the budget announcements made by the Finance Minister, Dr Haseeb Drabu , on Wednesday, claiming that most of their suggestions in the pre-budget session have been ignored.
The FinMin presented the budget for this fiscal in the Legislative Assembly, with focus on creating Assets Reconstruction Company, employment reforms, and revamp of the industries.
The announcements, however, couldn’t please the valley’s business fraternity, which claims that the pre-budget session served them no purpose.
President Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, told The Kashmir Monitor that three important sector that were highlighted by them in the session have been ignored in the budget.
“We have raised some important points during the pre-budget session with more focus on tourism, handicrafts, and horticulture. While some relief has been given to the horticulture, the other two sectors have been ignored completely,” he said.
Wani said that the business fraternity had demanded special concessions for the tourism sector, which remained worst hit in the last few years. The demand for refurbishment of hotels by announcing soft loans for them has not been included in the budget, he said.
“The government has declared tourism sector as a full-fledged industry, but no benefits are being provided to it. The industry is being ignored and the budget that was presented today had nothing special for it either. Even the Finance Ministers agreed with our demand, and yet he ignored it,” he said.
Regarding the handicrafts sector, Wani said that the budget had no relief for the artisans who demanded Artisan Credit Card (ACC) at par with Kissan Credit Card (KCC).
“The artisans have been demanding some waver in the Artisan Credit Card like the government announced 50 per cent for KCC last year. Further we had demanded increase in the exports that could be possible only when marketing is done by state-based emporiums,” he added.
The KCCI chairman, however, welcomed the move of formulating comprehensive scheme for Rs 314 crore to boost valley’s walnut industry.
On Asset Reconstruction Company, Wani said that KCCI will deliberate on it and will issue comprehensive statement over it.
While Federation Chamber of Industries and Commerce, Kashmir, (FCIK) hailed certain points included in this year’s budget, it said that the implementation of budget had always been a challenging task for every government.
“Even last year financial minister has kept provision of Rs 40 crore for the industrial sector, but it wasn’t spent later. This budget has some positive points with respect to the industrial sector but its implementation will be a challenging task for the finance minister,” said Senior Vice-President FCIK, Javed Bhat.
He added that the Chief Minister, who heads Industrial Advisory Board, has failed to hold any meeting for the last two years to review the functioning of this sector.
“Our Chief Minister has scheduled meeting of this board last month but it didn’t happen then. We hope this government takes some positive steps to revamp this sector,” Bhat said

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