‘Tourism, handicrafts, horticulture, industry to be considered on priority’
Srinagar: A delegation of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry held a pre-budget discussion in a meeting with Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu here on Saturday.
Detailed suggestions were submitted by the chamber to the finance minister for consideration and inclusion in the budget, while finalising the budget proposal of the state for the year 2018-19, an official handout read.
Drabu assured the delegation that the suggestions as discussed would receive due consideration while formulating the said budget proposals. He, however, agreed to consider tourism, handicraft, horticulture and industry on priority.
According to the handout, all relevant benefits otherwise available to the industrial sector will be extended to tourism as it was 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.
Due budgetary support will be provided for promotion of handicraft through important national and international buyer-seller meets, it further read.
The Dastkaar Scheme loan limit will be enhanced from Rs. 1 Lakh to 4 Lakhs, the handout read. Deeply concerned over 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, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has requested for re-scheduling/restructuring and grant of moratoriums on loans totaling for an amount of 600 crores on so that KCCI could also petition the central government for the balance amount.
KCCI has also sought urgent attention of the government to not only to nurture and preserve handicraft sector, but also to carry forward the sacred tradition nurtured over ages by hundreds of thousands of state 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 KCCI suggested the budgetary provision of Rs. 15.00 crores be made for participation in national and international important buyer seller meets.
KCCI, according to the handout, believes the interest subsidy of about 10% provided by government to artisans is not going to help as the amount of loan given under artisan loan presently is low.
“There is a need to provide this interest subsidy for loans of higher denomination that is up to 4 lakhs 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 handout read.
The chamber also sought provision for establishing Raw Material Bank for the handicraft sector.
The KCCI suggested 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 gross domestic product and generation of employment.
Budgetary provisions 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, was also suggested.
KCCI has also sought a full focus in the budget for boosting agriculture, floriculture, horticulture start-ups, the handout added.