FOIJ terms it industrial friendly; Cong, NC, PDP claim nothing for poor, unemployed youth, farmers

Union Budget evokes mixed response
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Feb 1: The Union Budget presented in the Parliament today by the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has evoked mixed response in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Congress Party in J&K has said that the Union budget has not brought any good news for the poor, unemployed youth, the farmers besides small traders, who are worst affected by the economic policies of BJP government, causing high inflation and unprecedented price rise, large scale unemployment besides farmers sufferings.
Reacting to the budget, Congress has said that there is nothing in the budget for the unemployed youth, small business class and the tourism industry, who are worst affected sections of the Modi government’s economic policies, of which Jammu and Kashmir is worst affected.
JKPCC chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said that the budget has no roadmap for dealing with rising prices, large scale unemployment and worst economic distress on the farmers, labour and poor people. Even the much awaited MGNREGA workers wages have not been enhanced. There is no good news for the Anganwadi workers, daily wagers and the working class except a small tax rebate to middle class. The farmers, who were promised to double their income, are in great economic distress without any relief in the budget.
National Conference (NC) described the Union budget as a “big flop” and “jugglery of words”, saying the only takeaway from it was that it was presented by a woman Finance Minister under a woman president.
“It was jugglery of words and there was nothing else in the budget. Except for playing with words and figures, I think the budget is a big flop,” NC’s chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq said.
Referring to a recent Oxfam report, which stated that the income of 84 per cent households in the country declined and the number of billionaires increased from 102 in 2020 to 142 in 2022, he said in India, the poor has become poorer and the rich richer.
“The middle class and the poor had expected that the 80C (Section of the IT Act) limit would be increased, the tax slab would be increased to Rs 10 lakh. There was no discussion on horticulture, agriculture, tourism, transport, artisans, at least for Jammu and Kashmir. The people of Jammu and Kashmir had expected a lot from this budget, but there is nothing in it for poor, farmers, nothing about joblessness or employment people, ” the NC leader said.
Reacting to the Union Budget PDP president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that this budget is not people-friendly as it has been prepared keeping in mind the interests of a few businessmen. She said the budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is the same as the ones presented by the BJP-led Government over the last eight-nine years.
“Taxes have increased and money is not being spent on welfare schemes or subsidies. Taxes are being amassed for their crony capitalists. The taxes imposed should have benefitted the people, but they have broken their backs.
“Rather than benefitting people, welfare schemes and subsidies are being done away with. The situation in the country is such that those who had risen above the poverty line have again fallen below it,” Mufti said.
“The taxes have been increased, the GST (Goods and Services Tax) has been increased. Money will be taken out of the pockets of the poor and it will go to big businessmen,” Mufti added.
Peoples Conference (PC) senior vice president and former minister, Abdul Gani Vakil, lambasted the Central government for again ignoring the ailing fruit industry in the new budget.
Reacting to the Union budget Vakil said it is a sorry state to see the Central Government failing to understand that the fruit industry is the backbone of the economy of J&K, and to ignore it is to affect the livelihood of thousands of people. The State produces more than 21 lakh metric tons of apples, which contributes 8.2 percent to J&K’s GDP, provides employment to thousands of people not only in J&K but in the whole country. Despite the significant contribution of fruit industry to the state’s and country’s economy, the government has sidelined this vital industry.
Vakil said fruit industry got badly hit due to Covid 19, unrest, weather vagaries, illegal import of Iranian apples, increase of taxes by Bangladesh government and last year’s blockade of fruit laden trucks on highway. Fruit industry incurred losses worth crores; fruit growers were expecting that, at least, the government will come forward and rescue the fruit industry, but it is unfortunate that they have again left the fruit growers dejected and disappointed.
Senior CPI (M) leader MY Tarigami said that the Union budget for 2023-24 was a “huge disappointment” for Jammu and Kashmir as the proposals contained in it failed to address the basic and fundamental issues of the region, which is mostly dependent on agriculture and horticulture.
Reacting to the Union Budget Tarigami said the budget presented by Finance Minister was just “jugglery of words” as it lacked the vision to tackle the growing unemployment, price rise and provide relief to the protesting daily wagers and other workers and employees under various government schemes.
“The budget is a huge disappointment for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It has failed to address the basic and fundamental issues of the region, which is mostly dependent on agriculture and horticulture,” Tarigami said.
He said reducing the expenditure on agriculture at the national level will have its impact on Jammu and Kashmir as well.
“The year 2022 proved to be devastating for apple growers as they suffered huge losses due to the falling prices of their produce. There was no mention or attempt to provide any relief to them. Same is true about the farmers growing wheat, rice and saffron crops who also suffered losses,” he said.
He said nothing was proposed in the budget to boost business, tourism and the MSME sector.
Federation of Industries Jammu (FOIJ), has termed the Uuion Budget 2023-24 as Industrial friendly and beneficial for all sections of society of Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.
Lalit Mahajan, Chairman Federation of Industries, Jammu and president, BBIA welcomed the proposals for the speedy development of MSME Sector as well as for the Corporate Sector within the Jammu & Kashmir and other parts of the country with the several Budget announcements, like- introduction of PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman (PM VIKAS) to improve the quality, scale and reach of their products, integrating them with the MSME value chain; introduction of Vivad Se Vishwas – Relief for MSMEs under this scheme, in cases of failure by MSMEs to execute contracts during the Covid period, 95 per cent of the forfeited amount relating to bid or performance security, will be returned to them by government. This will provide relief to MSMEs; Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme will be revamped with required infusion of funds which will facilitate additional collateral-free guaranteed credit of 2 lakh crore for Micro and Small Enterprises and expand employment opportunities & the cost of the credit will be reduced by about 1 per cent.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jammu has hailed Union Budget, and termed it as progressive, soothing for common man.
In a statement issued to the media Arun Gupta president CCI Jammu said that much sought after cuts in tax slab will definitely go a long way in comforting the people especially the middle class which was facing troubles in the past due to inflation and other compulsions affecting household budgets.
Gupta, however, said that the traders were expecting big sops and provisions for giving a push to their businesses which is lacking in this budget but overall the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has taken care of all sections of the society through a balanced approach and ensuring a trade-off between different entities.
PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kashmir has hailed the Budget announcement for artisans through PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman.
Talking about PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman-PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry Kashmir Region chairman Vicky Shaw said with announcement of this package, the artisans of Kashmir will get hugely benefited.
Welcoming the Union Budget with allocation of Rs 35581 crore for J&K presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday, PHD Chamber lauded the initiatives taken for MSMEs and especially the Artisan community. Since craftsmanship and artistry have been a source of livelihood in Kashmir since olden days, we believe the announcement of PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman Scheme will enable the Artisans of Kashmir to improve the quality, scale and reach of their products by integrating them with the MSME value chain.
“We are pleased to see the substantial 33% hike in the Capex outlay at 10 lakh crore which is the highest ever, amount of all budgets,” he added.
Rahul Sahai, Chairman PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jammu Chapter has also welcomed the Union Budget. In a statement Sahai said that allocation of Rs 35581 crore for J&K presented by Finance Minister during her budget speech is very appreciable.
Sahai applauded J&K Govt good going in achieving of Capex targets and said that we are pleased to see the substantial 33% hike in the capex outlay at 10 lakh crore which is the highest ever, amount of all budgets. He said that the Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSME and tax exemption for the hardworking middle class recognized the need to support in difficult times.
In a major relief to MSMEs, as mentioned in case of MSMEs failing to execute contracts during the COVID period, 95% of the forfeited amount relating to the bid or performance security would be returned to them by government and government undertakings will definitely boost the morale of the MSME Sector, he added.
Describing the Union Budget 2023-24 as a bonanza for middle class, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) J&K Executive Member Raman Suri today said that the biggest relief for working class is the changed tax slab. The money thus collected, he added, is going to transform the country with completion of mega projects of roads, highways and railway lines.
He said the digital payments have arisen to 76% in transactions and 91% in value terms. The biggest relief for common people is that the majority of documents available in Digi Locker for individuals will be expanded and people will be able to have all their required papers handy. Setting up of entity DigiLocker for use by MSMEs and large businesses will also help the country go digital and thus, transparent.
JK Kissan Council president Tajinder Singh Wazir said that Union Budget presented by the Finance Minister today has provided a new hope to the small and marginalized farmers and cooperative bodies. He said massive centralised storage capacity will help farmers a lot.
SCOPE, an apex body of Public Sector Enterprises complimented the Union Finance Minister in presenting a growth oriented inclusive budget for all with impetus on infrastructure, green environment and skill development. While appreciating budget Atul Sobti, Director General SCOPE said that the Budget is likely to have a multiple effect in both social and economic sectors.