A delegation of Walnut growers today met the Finance Minister Dr Haseeb A Drabu in his office chambers here to discuss the issues facing the Walnut industry in the State under the Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime.
The growers, who had come from various parts of Kashmir Valley, apprised the Minister about the problems faced by them after the new tax regime came into effect. They urged the Finance Minister to ensure that Walnut is kept in tax-free slab under GST.
The Finance Minister assured them that the State Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is committed to protect the interests of the Walnut growers under GST regime for which a number of measures are being undertaken.
Dr Drabu said the growers will benefit if the Walnut is kept under five percent GST slab which will entitle them to Input Tax Credit (ITC). “In case Walnut is kept in zero percent GST slab, the growers will suffer losses as they will be deprived of ITC,” he said.
He said the State government is evolving a comprehensive plan for promoting Walnut industry, which was neglected in past due to various reasons, resulting in depleting production. He said the Walnut wood artwork can attract high-end consumers if it is promoted properly at national and international forums.
“We will streamline the industry and a proposal is being mooted for reviving the traditional handicrafts and walnut industry which may reflect in the announcements during the next budget session,” Dr Drabu said, assuring the growers that their concerns will be addressed in a suitable timeframe.
The Finance Minister said the Government is committed to revive the traditional industries and art works in the State and has also invited stakeholders to make suggestions so that a comprehensive plan is formulated and implemented in a time-bound manner.
The meeting was also attended by Commissioner, Commercial Sales Tax, Parvaiz Iqbal Khateeb and other officials of the Finance Department.