NEW DELHI: To channelise substantive investment to the state, Minister for Finance, Haseeb Drabu on Thursday called for proactive engagement of major corporate houses from across India with Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing the 90th Annual General Meeting of Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here Thursday morning, Drabu said there was “tremendous scope for investment in potential sectors of strength” like energy, horticulture, handloom and handicrafts, biotechnology, food processing, tourism, information technology, education, skill development and sports in J&K which have strong inter-linkages with the other sectors, an official handout read.
He said J&K also had potential for becoming a special educational zone for foreign universities and special economic zone for exquisite handicrafts and sports goods besides attracting investment for setting up a dry port and cold chain.
“I would request you to start engaging with J&K and its people, to help us put the state on a faster path of development and growth,” Drabu told business tycoons from India Inc present at the meeting.
He said FICCI could help in tourism promotion in the state by organising various high-profile events and also facilitate building physical and digital connectivity and market linkages. “Given its network, FICCI can also help the state to strategize connectivity and infrastructure development for creation of wealth in the areas of social, economic and ecological enterprises in J&K,” he said.
Drabu said given its geographical location, Jammu and Kashmir could become a hub for forging a new economic linkage in the region between the South and the Central Asia. “There is a convergence of views on varied issues and interests between the Central Asian Republics and India, including promoting economic, scientific and cultural cooperation in the region,” Drabu said adding that given its historic links with Central Asia, J&K could become a surface transport passage for reviving traditional economic linkages in the region.
Referring to implementation of GST, the minister said there may be operational and technical issues involved in the implementation of the new tax regime, but it has federalised the economy and has transformed the business ethics, the handout read.
He called for doing away with the MRP (maximum retail price) under the GST regime. “MRP is from a pre-liberalised era. We need to now abolish MRP as it has become redundant under GST regime,” Drabu said.
He also suggested that composition scheme for small businesses with an annual turnover of up to Rs 1 crore should be tweaked to allow some input tax credit. “Larger companies are not buying from small businesses due to lack of input tax credit,” he noted.
He also called for bringing back the reverse charge mechanism under GST that has been deferred till March, the handout added.