SRINAGAR: Ahead of Budget 2018-19, Minister for Finance, Labour and Employment, Haseeb A Drabu held extensive deliberations with different trade and industries bodies at the Excise and Taxation Complex here on Saturday.
According to an official statement, Drabu invited suggestions that could be incorporated into the upcoming budget for reviving the economy of Jammu and Kashmir which has suffered immensely due to 2014 floods and “unfavourable socio-political atmosphere” last year.
The traders urged the finance minister to take immediate measures keeping in view the September 2014 Floods and the 2016 situation which had a debilitating impact on the business community, especially small traders, and overall economy of the Kashmir Valley.
“Due to the situation of 2016 and the negative propaganda by New Delhi-based news channels, the trade in Kashmir, particularly the tourism sector and various other industries, has suffered badly. But we are taking corrective measures and some announcements will be made in the budget to address these issues,” Drabu said.
The trade leaders, while appreciating the role of the finance minister for announcing a slew of measures, including tax waivers for the business community said, the Goods and Services Tax regime has “brought a positive change and reduced corruption” while easing the system of filing returns.
However, they said, the tax department must organise more awareness programs and training camps so that small traders are acquainted with the system. Commissioner Commercial Tax, Parvaiz Khateeb assured them that the department will be organising such programs in coming days.
Drabu underlined that many interventions carried out by the state government in various areas and the announcements made for sectors such as walnut industry in last budget, have not been followed up by the industry leaders, resulting in wastage of funds.
“The Government will leave no stone unturned in reviving important sectors like horticulture, handicrafts, tourism, and industries which are the backbone of the state economy. This year, there will be a major intervention in power sector which will address a lot of issues faced by various industries,” Drabu said.