srinagar: Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) and Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Association (KHARA) led by Showkat Chowdhary Sunday appreciated Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu for presenting a budget aiming at self reliance and fiscal autonomy.
Both KEA and KHARA said finance minister has taken into consideration the demands of the business community and hoteliers while preparing the budget for next financial year.
It said government endorsed that tangible relief is to be provided to the flood-affected and flood-impacted households and commercial enterprises on their liabilities.
KEA Chairman Showkat Chowdhary said relief in the repayment and interest on the bank loans and taxation to government is a bold step by the state government.
“We appreciate state government’s sincerity to provide succor to flood-affected people of the state which is clear from the fact that this government has created separate Relief and Rehabilitation Department to fast-track the rehabilitation process,” said Chowdhary.
Chowdhary also hailed Finance Minister for proposing to declare J&K declared as an area where all bank lending would classify as priority sector lending.
“We also appreciate Finance Minister for his proposal to increase the amount of bank lending in and also reducing the lending rates by 300 to 400 basis points.”
Both KEA and KHARA said waiving off demand charges on electricity for seven months from September 2014 to March 015, exemption of Passenger Tax on vehicles which remained off road due to floods, exemption under the GST in respect of lodging services provided by hotels, lodges and guest houses to be extended up to end March, 2016 is a welcome step.
KEA Chairman said government has exempted all hoteliers from payment of entry tax on furniture/office equipment/kitchen equipment/other goods imported into the state for replacement and refurbishment till June 2015. “It will help hoteliers upgrade their hotel properties which in turn will help tourism sector,” said Chowdhary.
Chowdhary also hailed 50 per cent waiver of the KCC loans for the smallest and most vulnerable farmers.
He said Alternative Dispute Resolutions Tribunal (ADRT) proposed to be set up will help people track the settlement of all these cases. KEA, however, said that budget is bereft of any reprieve to education sector.
“Budget should also include sops to education sector which also suffered during floods.”