SRINAGAR: A delegation of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) led by Senior Vice President, Nasir Hamid Khan on Thursday called on Advisor to Governor Jammu and Kashmir, K Skandan here. Khan, while deliberating upon the ‘precarious state’ of the state economy suggested measures for protection of industries. “A big impediment in the growth of our business sector especially, industries was the adhocism in formulation of policies, improper implementation and their frequent chopping and changing,” Khan said in a statement.
The advisor was apprised about the fact that the economy of Kashmir had to bear the impact of demonitisation and GST implementation when it was already reeling under the effects of the 2014 floods and 2016 turmoil. The financial capacity of people had been reduced to such an extent that it was getting difficult to even meet taxation obligations, it read. “The simple transportation of apples to markets had turned into a nightmare due to the frequent closure of the Srinagar-Jammu Highway. Whereas, our neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh had procured thousands of crores from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for the development of the horticulture sector including apples and walnuts,” it read, adding that Valley had not been able to properly develop this industry.
The advisor stated that proper linkage and marketing studies needed to be done for ensuring that the Kashmiri products were available at all major markets. In this regard, he suggested that the KCCI being stakeholders should jointly work with the horticulture department so that effective policies and permanent solutions were developed. KCCI senior vice president informed that advisor about the problems arising out of delays and difficult eligibility criteria’s for availing various schemes especially under MSME. He said, “The business community suffered due to faulty master plans which had failed to reflect the requirements of a developing economy,” adding that there was a need for relaxation in the eligibility criteria for Kashmir as a majority of stakeholders were not qualifying the stringent guidelines. The delay in release of GST refunds to industries which had tied up substantial working capital was also discussed. The advisor assured the chamber that the government would consider delinking these refunds from the mandatory DIPP inspections or ensuring timely refunds. The ‘crippling’ impact of GST on handicraft sector was discussed. “As GST had had a negative impact on most unorganised sectors, our handicraft sector had also suffered huge losses on this account,” the statement read, adding that there was a dire need for revival through proper promotion and marketing events in domestic and global markets.