Initiatives appreciated, but what about horticulture, tourism, health: KCCI

SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Tuesday appreciated the concession offered to the businessmen and pointed out loopholes in the state’s budget for the 2015-16 fiscal.
In a press statement issued here, KCCI said it held a special meeting of its Executive Committee to discuss the budget, which was presented in the Assembly on Sunday by Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu.
The Chamber said it appreciates the “initiatives such as the continuation of VAT exemption for one year in regard to industry as well as hotels.”
The creation of two holding companies for the Public Sector Enterprises, it said, “is a good step” to free the assets and to make them productive in terms of generating income for the government.
KCCI also appreciated the provision in the budget for creating 10,000 kanals of ‘land bank’ for development of industries. The chamber hoped that it will be developed only in cluster mode.
“The provision of 35 crore for higher capital subsidy on plant and machinery to encourage setting up of new industrial units in backward areas in the state is welcome.
“The secure Horticulture future initiative is a very good innovative scheme…and should be implemented in mission mode.
The initiative of setting up of a 100 crore venture capital fund to provide equity finance to startups is a commendable step and will go a long way in converting our youth to entrepreneurs,” it said.
KCCI, however, pointed out loopholes in the budget, stating that “certain economic and social sectors like tourism, handicraft and health have been completely neglected or cursorily touched” in the budget.
About the Handicraft sector, KCCI said “no specific allocation” has been made to help it grow at a “faster and steady pace.”
“The handicraft sector deserves special care for the fact that it has potential to generate employment for the local youth on a large scale.
For the same reason, KCCI had, in its pre-budget discussion with Finance Minister, made a submission for making budgetary provisions for creation and development of handicraft and handloom clusters in all the districts of the state,” it said.
Tourism, it said, is “another important sector” that contributes a “sizeable chunk” to the state’s economy, but the government “has dealt with it casually in the budget.”
“The extension of the already available tax exemption to hoteliers from payment of entry tax on furniture and office equipment or GST on loading services does not amount…to (having) a provision in the budget for the growth of the tourism sector,” it said.
KCCI said the “there is hardly anything worth a mention” provided in the budget to help the health sector of the state improve.
KCCI urged the government to “have a relook” at the budget to “find the sectors of the economy that have not received due attention.”
“Devise a system to make necessary provisions for the growth of such sectors,” it said.