Traders say they have great expectations from this budget

Nayeem Rather

Srinagar: On the eve of the first day of the budget session of the Assembly, Valley traders hope that the annual exercise will be different this time and the economic overhaul they have been expecting since last year’s devastation in the floods will finally become a reality.
“We have great expectations from the new government. We believe it will provide a special package to the flood victims,” Kashmir Economic Alliance president Mohammad Yasin Khan told Kashmir Reader on Monday.
He said the traders expect sales taxes will be reduced, a special package for the flood-hit traders will be announced and conducive atmosphere will be created for business in the Valley.
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry joint secretary Faiz Bakhshi said the budget shall have a special package for the flood victims, and horticulture and tourism sectors, which he said are the backbone of state’s economy.
“The KCCI has demanded local artisans and the handloom industry should get special attention. We want the children of artisans should get education incentives and they get health insurance cover. There should be something special for the women in the budget,” he said.
Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation president Sadiq Baqaal said they have already put forward their demands—reduction in sales tax, a package for the flood-hit businesses, lowering power tariff for shopkeepers—before the new government.
“We also expect the budget will give special attention to the basic infrastructure like roads which are important for flourishing of businesses,” said Baqaal.
He said the state government should also push economic reforms in the state.
All traders’ bodies also urged Finance minister Dr Haseeb Drabu to bring in accountability and transparency in the system.