Srinagar: The business community of Kashmir, which was waiting for a special package, has expressed dissatisfaction over the recently passed J&K Budget for 2022-23.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her budget speech, said the government will continue development of the UT with focus on good governance, deepening grassroots democracy, and inclusive growth. But majority of business leaders, whom this newspaper spoke to, expressed their dismay.
President, Federation Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK), Shahid Kamli, says he didn’t see anything in the budget for the revival of the industries. “We didn’t find anything for the business revival in this budget. They are not serious about the business in Kashmir because they have got no plans for its revival. Had they been serious about it, they would have consulted all the stakeholders before budget formation but they didn’t anyone,” said Kamili.
“The government is aware of what happened in 2014, 2016 and 2019, 2020 and 2021, and despite that they discredit the business units here. They should have reinforced the existing incentives, but they have withdrawn them all. The situation has crushed us but they have no plans for us,” he said.
President of Fruit Mandi Sopore, Fayaz Ahmad Malik, said despite horticulture being the backbone of economy in Kashmir, it has been ignored in the budget. Horticulture sector didn’t get the desired attention in the recently announced J&K Budget. “We were expecting that centre will wave off the KCC loans upto Rs 3 lakh as the growers are continuously facing losses for the last 3 yers. We brought this into the notice of finance minster through email but, we got no response. They say lot of things in speeches but never implement it on the ground. Many of our demands like subsidy in transport are still pending,” said Malik.
President Industrial Association Lassipora Haji Mohammad Muzaffar believes that government could have done lot more for the industrial sector in Kashmir but says they have failed to give it its due share in the development. He said the total allocation for the industrial sector in the budget is Rs 555 crore, which is almost Rs 100 crore less than last year’s allocation.
“There should have been much more in the budget for the development industries, but they have reduced it, which is surprising. We were expecting that there should be special consideration on the electricity charges to industrialists, which is a major issue for us. But no relief on that front as well,” Muzaffar said.
“Similarly, post 5 August 2019, the toll tax in J&K was abolished which puts local industries at the disadvantage. This too needed special consideration but nothing so far,” he added.