Abolition of Toll Tax and impact on Industries

Have our local industrial units grown strong enough to face competition from other players in the field and function under the doctrine of level playing field despite having enjoyed some sort of state protectionism for quite some? What are the reasons for our industrial sector not picking up satisfactorily despite availability of liberal credit from Banking and other Financial Institutions ? Has the need arisen to introduce advanced technology and better professional management of the units ? These are a few questions haunting the local industrial sector and needing attention and resolution . Added to the scenario is such a factor which is laced with and resulting in showering benefits on many but causing lot of anxiety to various industrial units in our UT of Jammu and Kashmir. That is abolition of Toll Tax at Lakhanpur, Railway Stations and at Airports in Jammu and Kashmir.
This abolition will result in the influx of goods and services from across the country at competitive prices much to the detriment of the local entrepreneurs’ interests many of whom fear that some units would definitely be grossly disadvantaged and many might not reach even breakeven point or in other words, the sale proceeds would not cover even its expenses. It is not that the Government, which by the decision of foregoing taxes, would be incurring an annual loss of revenue to the extent of over Rs. 1500 crore, is not conscious of the impending impact on the local industrial units . To look into the entire gamut of things post abolition of Toll tax , it constituted a high powered committee to assess the extent of impact. However, as is wont with most of such constituted committees , especially decorated as “High Powered” , timelines are never met , so turned out to be the Committee under reference which failed to submit its report to the Government within one month.
With such casual approach, not only are the affected entrepreneurs jittery but it makes the oft repeated claims of the Government look prosaic that it was committed to the development of vibrant, modern and competitive industrial and manufacturing sector in Jammu and Kashmir. By convening just a meeting since constituting of this Committee evidences that seriousness accorded to the subject was in utter deficit. General Administration Department should arrange putting in place a system of monitoring of such committees’ performance from time to time by way of establishing a separate cell mandated to pursue the level of developments in all such cases . Some sort of arrangement , at least , for those units which were vulnerable to suffer on account of abolition of Toll Tax should be arrived at towards which, the Government must pay due attention.
We reiterate that since a large work force -both technical and non technical was engaged in the local industrial sector thus being employer of hundreds of such people , every care should be taken that those workers did not lose their livelihood in case the stiff competition from other traders and manufacturers from outside Jammu and Kashmir as a consequence of abolishing of the Toll Tax resulted in affecting the working of the industrial units. Local Industrial Associations as well as Federation of Industries, Jammu are opposing the decision to do away with Toll Tax which would not wholly benefit the consumer but would definitely hamper the working of the units. Therefore, it is in the fitness of things, at the outset, the Committee submitted its report and recommendations to the Government at an early date so that it took some concrete decisions in the matter.