Ziraat Times Special Report
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden budget is a budget of lofty ambition and policy initiatives. While several opposition voices have expressed their dismay for the budget being unable to articulate its vision and the roadmap in terms of tangible numbers, many others see this as a good beginning to address the looming fiscal challenges and banks’ and non-banking financial companies’ bad balance sheets.
Within J&K there is both indifference for Ms. Nirmala’s recommendations as well as astonishment that hitherto there appear no specific budgetary recommendations specific to Jammu & Kashmir.
This week Ziraat Times features the views of prominent business leaders of the state on what this budget means for Jammu & Kashmir and what ought to be done.
Former President KCCI and prominent industrialist
There was nothing specific to Jammu and Kashmir in the entire budget. On one side Home Minister visits the state and says that the economy will be the priority and then no mention or anything in details when it comes to budget.
There’s a separate dispensation for North East and same has been requested for our state long time back, nothing has happened ever since.
Nasir Ahmad Khan
Vice President, KCCI
We need to wait for the final print to see what actually is for our state. There are some 17 circuits for tourism that will be boosted, let’s see if Kashmir gets any place there.
For disinvestment and expansion of the tax base, it’s isn’t much relevant to our state. Gold and fuel will be costlier and that can be a bit concerning. Whatever encouraging is for our state will be welcomed.
Former President FCIK and prominent industrialist
This budget is different and very ambitious compared to past budgets. But all emphasis on such a big and ambitious plan to achieve a $5 trillion economy by 2024 and not focusing on the shortcomings of the economy is worrisome. Well, this budget didn’t talk much about states specifically. But we were expecting that J&K will have some special treatment when it comes to handicrafts, allied agriculture and tourism.
There is some proposal to boost 17 tourist destinations and we hope J&K is part of that and if not, that will be grave discrimination. Unemployment in Kashmir is higher than the average unemployment in India. There was nothing in the budget about the creation of employment opportunities. The positive aspect of the budget is that more focus is on infrastructural development and there might be some relief for startups which is a good sign. In the budget, it was said that loan up to one crore will be provided in less than an hour. Let’s see how it goes when it comes to implementation.
Baldev Singh Raina
Co-Chairman, PHD Kashmir Chapter
So far it seems disinvestment in public sector enterprises is going to prove beneficial and there will be a tremendous change.
Housing reforms will prove beneficial for salaried people as well.
For J&K state, we have got nothing.
There is no transparency about power availability and there seems complete absence of single window system.
Joint Vice President Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHARA)
We were expecting some specific package for tourism but it seems tourism has been completely neglected.
(Hilltop group of Hotels
Chairman young leader forum PHDCCI
Sr VP Kashmir Youth Entrepreneur Federation
Gen Sec J&K Hoteliers Club Gulmarg chapter)
As per the budget, they are going to develop 17 destinations for world-class tourism. We just hope that Kashmir will be a part of these 17 destinations because it’s one of the few places in India having 12 months for tourism activities starting from skiing in Gulmarg in the winter season to hiking and trekking in Pahalgham during summers. From tulip festivals in spring to beautiful views of the Chinar trees during autumn.
Also, I read that the angel tax for startups would not have scrutiny by IT department which would be ease of doing business for budding entrepreneurs. At the same time a good point 2% interest subvention for registered MSMEs under GST. This is a sigh of relief. However, there are no major points for our state in general.
Sujiv Jain, MD
The takes are a strong push on infrastructure, rural connect via digitization, agriculture and affordable housing.
There is no word on initiatives for labour reforms to boost employment generation, availability of cheap credit to the industry against the strong global challenge and nothing on incentives to promote R&D for industrial manufacturing. Overall I believe that clear direction is there to take India towards a 5 billion economy. Now how well the calls are implemented, will depend upon matching the spirit of the initiatives from all the stakeholders.