Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the scheme of extending incentives to some of the Himalayan and North Eastern States in the country including Jammu and Kashmir. Ever since the extended date for industrial incentives for our State expired in July last, the State Government had been frantically fighting for its extension for another long term. Finally the Cabinet has approved the scheme of extending the incentives for a period of ten years beginning from July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2027 for identified industrial units. The scheme has been allocated an amount of rupees 27,413 crores. The support is provided under budgetary support under GST regime for eligible industrial units in Jammu and Kashmir along with other States.
Chief Minister and the Finance Minister both have welcomed the decision of the Union Cabinet and also thanked the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister for showing generosity towards the State. The State association of industrialists had been demanding extension for a long time and the State Government was under great pressure because it involved hundreds of small and big industrial units which were badly affected. These incentives are for the revival of defunct industries and also for support to the existing industries to modernise them and make them viable. The Finance Minister has announced that industries in Jammu and Kashmir and other Himalayan and North Eastern States will continue to get tax exemption till March 2027, albeit as refund, under the current GST regime which was rolled out on July 1.
The important and noteworthy point about the extension of incentive is that it dispels all doubts and apprehensions that had been created albeit unnecessarily about the implementation of GST in our State. We may recall that the opposition had termed the installation of GST in the State as nibbling at its special status as provided in the Constitution of India. What we have to realize is that various financial and fiscal reforms or additions contemplated by the Union Government are meant to bring relief to the people. A large number of central laws passed by the Parliament have already been applied to the State of Jammu and Kashmir not clandestinely but through constitutional process which means that the State Legislature has given its approval for extension of those laws to the State. This is a constitutional requirement in accordance with the constitution of the State. Therefore the legality of the extended laws is not challengeable. In the same vein, GST has been extended to the State although there were many reservations pertaining to tax exemption in the case of special category states like Jammu and Kashmir. Under the new GST regime, there is no provision for exemption but there is one section under the Act which permits refunds. It is this provision that has been invoked in the case of J&K. It is expected that within next fortnight the Finance Department will work out the exact modalities and incentive structure that will benefit local industry, investors and consumers. We are hopeful that the industrial fraternity in the State will make the best use of the facility extended by the Centre and that industrial health of the State will grow faster in days to come.