In election year, coalition govt extends concessions, announces welfare measures

In election year, coalition govt extends concessions, announces welfare measures

JAMMU: With an eye on coming elections, the Jammu and Kashmir government in budget 2014-15 announced various incentives to the industry and unveiled a slew of social welfare schemes.
Presenting the Rs 43,543-crore budget in the Assembly, Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather also announced an insurance scheme for panchayat members and the regularisation of Rehbar-e-Zirat employees.
A provision of Rs 3 crore has been made for the purpose of marriage of orphan girls belonging to BPL families.
An amount of Rs 3.50 crore has been earmarked for Women Development Corporation to set up 100 Self Help Groups (SHG), comprising 44,000 women.
The coverage of ‘Beti Anmol Scheme’ has also been extended to all blocks from existing 97 blocks. The financial assistance to poor girls for higher education, too, has been increased from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 under this scheme.
The Finance Minister said the tourism incentive package, which expires on December 31, 2014, shall be extended up to March, 2015 whereas stamp duty exemption on KCC has been increased from Rs 1.50 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. This concession shall also be available to the Arti san Credit Cards, he added.
The horticulture sector, especially apple, pear, cherry has been brought under the ambit of the insurance cover concession granted to the industry.
In his 115-minute long speech, Rather said that despite limited financial resources and multiple problems confronting the state, every possible effort has been made to provide succor to various sections of the society, including trade, industry, tourism, farming community.
Briefing about the tax concessions given to various sectors, Rather said that the agriculture sector has been made more or less tax free. He said the tourism incentive package, which expires on December 31, 2014 shall be extended up to March, 2015.
Stamp duty exemption on insurance coverage of Kisan Credit Card holders has been increased from Rs 1.50 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. This concession shall also be available to the Artisan Credit Cards.
The Minister said VAT remission for the industry shall continue for another year whereas cashless system of VAT remission on purchase of raw material made of SICOP shall be adopted from the next year.
The budget also has an amnesty scheme under which penalty on VAT defaulters will be waived if they clear arrears. VAT of shawls has been cut to 5 per cent as well.
The debt liabilities state-run enterprises have also been waived.
“Hotel tariff tax exemption shall continue up to March, 2015,” Rather said.
While Rs 1.40 crore has been earmarked for helping HIV/ AIDs cases, the Cancer Treatment Management Fund gets Rs 2 crore.

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