LG announces relief package of Rs 1350 cr to boost trade

5% interest subvention; partial waiver of power, water charges for businesses

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Sept 19: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today announced a relief package of Rs 1350 cr in a bid to boost the business and the other ailing sectors that have suffered huge losses for several years in the newly formed Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir.
While addressing a press conference at Raj Bhawan, Sinha said that there is more in the offing. “This was just a beginning and much more was in the offing”, he said.

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“I am glad to announce a Rs 1,350 crores economic package for the people in the business community facing economic difficulties. This is in addition to the benefits of Atma Nirbhar Bharat and other measures taken by us to comfort the business community,” Sinha said.
In order to generate employment, the LG said that the borrowers from business community will be given 5 per cent interest subvention.
“We have decided to give 5 per cent interest subvention to every borrower from the business community, without any conditions for six months in the current financial year. This will be a huge relief and help in generating employment here,” he added.
He lauded the committee for submitting the report on time. “I also want to highlight that this is for the first time here in so many years that the Committee has submitted the report in the given time frame which was 12 days,” Sinha said.
He added that the package will cover those sectors that have suffered losses in the newly created UT in addition to the ailing business sector. He added that package for more persons who were not covered under this relief will be included in next one.
He said that the business entities in J&K have been demanding package from time to time as the business environment has been under strain for several years.
“In light of the difficulties faced by the various sectors of the economy due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and problems faced by them during last few years, a committee was constituted”, he said.
The LG said that the committee heard around 35 business associations in J&K and noted 199 demands. “Forty nine demands were related to financial support and banking interventions, 69 demands pertained to Administrative decisions, 26 demands were regarding GST and other Taxes and 55 demands were linked to policy decisions”, he added.
“The overall demands can be categorized into financial support, administrative policies, banking interventions, infrastructure bottlenecks, GST and Central Government interventions”, he said.
“137 demands have been accepted in accordance with the principles of financial prudence, business sustainability, mutual partnership between Government and business community and legal and regulatory framework”, the LG said.
Sinha said that there were 49 demands related to financial support and banking intervention out of which 31 demands have been duly considered. “Out of 69 demands involving administrative decisions, suitable measures have been suggested in respect of 66 demands”, he added.
“All the demands related to infrastructure are being addressed. The administrative measures recommended include establishment of online registration and renewal systems, time bound clearances, rationalizing of COVID-19 restrictions and various platforms for stakeholder consultations on the regular basis”, the LG said.
“Out of 26 demands pertaining to issues related to GST and other taxes, 12 pertained to GST Council, 7 demands stand addressed and 7 demands are not covered under the principle of financial prudence. 22 demands pertaining to the policy issues are not addressed because of inconsistency with the regulatory and legal framework”, he added.
He said that the committee has recommended interest subvention of 5% for six months amounting to Rs 1089.24 cr, partial waiver of fixed electricity charges for one year amounting to Rs 80 cr, waiver of water charges for six months costing Rs 25 cr, time bound One Time Settlements (OTS), capital infusion in accordance with the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, replacement of old vehicles and insurance support costing Rs 50 crore to the transporters, support to artists and others costing Rs 108.75 cr.
The LG said that bank will enhance powers to sanction loan by branch heads as per laid down procedures.
“Finance Department will write to all banks to cover loans for agriculture and allied non-farm activities under MUDRA loans including pisci-culture, bee keeping, poultry, dairy, livestock-rearing, grading, sorting, aggregation agro industries, fishery, agri-clinics and agri-business centers, food and agro processing etc. District level bankers committee to ensure implementation by holding one meeting every month and report to UTLBC regularly for supervising progress in the matter”, he added.
“Delay in the payments to industries and suppliers shall be monitored by a Committee having members as Administrative Secretaries of RDD, I&C Department, PDD & PW (R&B) Department as members under the overall supervision of the Financial Commissioner, Finance” the LG said.
He said that the date of filing of GST reimbursement claims up to the period 31.12.2019 shall be extended to December 31, 2020 provided that the units have filed up to date returns.
“Workshops for awareness of NPA and GEM shall be held in 20 districts to be jointly organized by the Finance Department and J&K Bank”, he added.
Sinha said that for working capital loan there will be 2 guarantors instead of 3. “J&K Bank shall make necessary changes if permitted under regulatory framework”, he added.
He said that the J&K Bank will work out a cluster financing scheme as per local demands. “Buyer seller meet shall be organized by the Industries & Commerce Department at both the provinces, especially export oriented handicrafts, round the year. Buyer -seller meet shall be organised for encouraging participation of local industries in handicraft sector and other allied sectors and for suppliers to cantonments”, he added.
He said that land bank will be set up exclusively for the establishment of food park clusters. “Ease of Doing Business- a single window portal will be setup and online clearances introduced”, he added.
“Land shall be provided in the Industrial Estates for the establishment of the Ware Houses. I&C shall conduct a comprehensive diagnostic study for solving Industry related problems and furnish a report within 3 months”, he said.
The LG said that I&C Department shall provide online facility, display and promotion space for carpet organizations and others to promote their products. “Promotion activities shall be made a regular feature for two times a year at both Jammu and Srinagar”, he said.
“Export Promotion Board will be set up in consultation with the stakeholders within 3 months”, he said.
“Loan slab under Credit Card Scheme for handlooms and handicrafts will be enhanced from Rs 1.00 lakh to Rs 2.00 lakhs with interest subvention of 7%”, he added.
He said that online renewal and registration system for transporters, hoteliers shall be put in place.
“Banks will extend every possible support to houseboat owners, tour & travel operators and shikarawalas and frame a customized scheme for their working capital requirements in consultation with the concerned associations”, he added.
Sinha said that all renewals of Registration of Hotels, Restaurants and the like shall be done in a time bound manner.
“STPs of Srinagar will be completed in time bound manner providing relief to Hotels. Building permissions will be given in a time bound manner within 3 months”, he added.
“Farmer Producer Organisations will be increased with market linkages”, he said.
Sinha said that suitable space for passenger taxi and auto stands will be organized to avoid traffic congestions.
He said that handicraft Cluster centres will be set up in specified Zones. “Handloom parks will be created in J&K and possibilities for development of handloom parks outside J&K will be explored”, he added.
“Registration of Instruments will be done by Revenue Department on daily basis, and not more than 7 days”, he said.
“Special desk shall be created to address youth and women entrepreneurs in the J&K Bank. The facility shall be put in place by the J&K Bank by October 1, 2020. Exclusive market space will be created for women entrepreneurs”, he added.
He said that a Portal for unemployed Youth will be created which is a one stop solution with tie-up with employment portals and employers on same platform will be done.
“Renewal of registration of Schools will be done in a time bound manner and affiliation process with the CBSE Board shall be eased out to have more CBSE school registrations”, he added.
The LG said that frequent national and international events shall be organised by the Youth Service and Sports Department to have wide participation. “High end events will encourage tourism sector and improve economy of the UT”, he added.
“A committee headed by Administrative Secretary I&C Department with representative of Finance Department will propose issuance of a simplified negative list for industrial incentives within 3 months”, the LG said.
“Committee will be constituted for settlement of Bank, Finance and Industry issues with association representatives as members to be chaired by the Finance Department”, he said.
Sinha said that committees will be setup in each Province/District involving members of the business associations to address their issues which shall meet every month at district level and every two months at provincial level to settle issues of business community. “The committees shall have representatives from I&C/Finance/Banks as its members”, he added.
He announced reduction in GST rates for handicrafts from 12% to 5%.
” We are allowing local filters for procurement through Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) on GEM for a period of 2 years in J&K in view of difficulties due to the abolition of the toll tax”, he added.
Sinha said that request has been made to CEO GEM who has taken up matter with Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance. “Alternatively, procurement from MSME may be allowed in J&K through e-tendering for 2 years in relaxation of GFR”, he added.