Cabinet approves revised package of incentives, to be applicable till Dec 2014

* Decision likely to give major boost to tourism industry

By Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Apr 9: In a major decision, the State Cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, here this morning, approved the revised package of incentives for the tourism industry. The package will be applicable till December 2014 and is likely to give major boost to the tourism, which is the back-bone of State’s economy.
Authoritative sources told EXCELSIOR that need for revision in the package of incentives for the tourism industry was being felt over the last several years. Not only there was persistent demand from travel trade associations to widen the scope of incentives and extend the benefit to more areas, even the Expert Group on Employment in Jammu and Kashmir headed by Dr C Ranga Rajan had also recommended the revision of list of locations eligible for incentives to encourage private investment.
Moreover, while approving the incentives for two years from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010, the Chief Minister had also advised to revise the incentives. Accordingly, the Tourism Department worked out a revised package of incentives, which after detailed discussions received the concurrence of the Planning and Development as well as Finance Departments, sources said.
It is pertinent to mention here that Finance Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather, while presenting budget for 2012-13 in the Legislative Assembly on March 5, 2012, had also touched the issue pertaining to the incentives for the tourism industry.
Today, the Cabinet approved the revised package of incentives for tourism industry and extended its applicability till December 2014, sources said while stating that the decision would go a long way in further boosting the tourism industry, which is the back-bone of the State’s economy.
“In the revised package, the list of areas eligible for capital investment subsidy has been expanded substantially and now there is only one list in which both capital investment subsidy and subsidy for conversion of private houses into paying guest houses would be applicable”, sources said, adding “capital investment subsidy for new prestigious units involving an investment of Rs 25 crore or more in fixed assets including cost of land has been increased from Rs 60 lakh to Rs 100 lakh”.
For purchase of new DG sets, 75 per cent subsidy with a ceiling of Rs 4 lakh would be provided as a one time measure in case of hotels and guest houses. Moreover, subsidy of 50 per cent of cost of equipment used in adventure/ recreation tourism subject to a ceiling of Rs 7 lakh (instead of Rs 5 lakh at present) as one time measure would be available, sources said.
“Fifty per cent subsidy would be available for the replacement/ purchase of new tourist coaches with a ceiling of Rs 7 lakh to the Jammu and Kashmir State permit holders plying their coaches on recognized tourist routes for transportion of tourists”, they said while informing that at present the subsidy is available only for replacement of tourist coaches.
A subsidy of 50 per cent of the cost of office automation/ communication networking/ computing system and other equipment with a ceiling of Rs 4 lakh would be reimbursable to the travel agencies registered with the Tourism Department for up-gradation of existing travel agencies or setting up of new travel agencies in the specified tourist areas as one time measure, sources said, adding the other existing incentives will also continue.
Sources said that proposal of the Revenue Department regarding enhancement of honorarium of Numberdars and Chowkidars was not cleared by the Cabinet with the observations that enhancement of honorarium of Numberdars and Chowkidars without fixing any honorarium for Sarpanchs and Panches would not be a wise decision.
“The Rural Development Department was directed by the Cabinet to prepare a proposal in consultation with the Finance Department for fixing honorarium of Sarpanchs and Panches”, they said, adding “the proposals regarding enhancement of honorarium of Numberdars and Chowkidars and Sarpanches and Panchs would be jointly considered by the Cabinet”.
The Cabinet approved implementation of National Population Register (NPR) Project in the State in place of Aadhar Project.
It also gave nod to the selection of Patwar trainees through J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE) with the modifications that the examinations will be conducted by BOPEE at the district level by associating the concerned Deputy Commissioners and making selection in accordance with the Reservation Rules.
The Cabinet also approved transfer of State land measuring 192 kanal and 34 marla situated in estates Namble Narkara and Hamchipora of tehsils Budgam and Khag respectively of District Budgam, in favour of Sher-e- Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology, Shalimar, Srinagar, for the establishment of Krishi Vigyan Kendra.
The transfer of land measuring 300 kanal and 5 marla situated in villages of Hrudubani, Lalpora and Mangloora, tehsil Tangmarg for establishment of Krishi Vigyan Kendra and transfer of State land measuring 362 kanal and 13 marla for construction of Krishi Vigyan Kendra at village Marta and construction of residential quarters for employees of Krishi Vigyan Kendra in village Ramnagar also received the nod of Cabinet.


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