SRINAGAR: In a proactive effort to address crucial economic concerns and seek expedited resolutions, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), met with Reenu Lata, Economic Advisor, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in New Delhi on December 14, 2023. This meeting served as a follow-up to their earlier engagement with the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal.
Several pressing matters were discussed and reviewed during the meeting, highlighting the progress made and seeking swift action on the following key issues:
The KCCI delegation emphasised, according to the Chamber statement, the urgency of establishing a Pre-export Pashmina DNA Testing Lab accredited with NABL and Wildlife Department at Srinagar or Delhi, where over 95 per cent of Pashmina is manufactured. The certification from this proposed lab would be made mandatory for customs clearance of export consignments, preventing seizure and avoiding delays in exports. Despite the Commerce Minister’s on-the-spot orders issued in March 2023, the lab is yet to be established, prompting the delegation to urge fast-tracking the process.
Besides, the KCCI has been advocating for the establishment of an Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Srinagar to facilitate the movement of export cargo, particularly Kashmir handicrafts, horticulture, agriculture, floriculture, spices, wooden, and Papier Machie products. Despite the Hon’ble Minister’s surprise at the non-existence of an ICD in Srinagar and on-the-spot orders for its establishment, no progress has been observed, necessitating immediate attention.
The KCCI highlighted the challenges faced by exporters of hand-embroidered woollen and Pashmina shawls due to the cap imposed under ROSCTL. The delegation urged the removal of this anomaly and the allocation of a separate HSN CODE to cover Value Added & Pashmina Shawls, ensuring adequate benefits for products with higher costs. The KCCI also sought a review of incentives for other handicrafts like wooden and Papier Machie.
The Chamber also brought to the attention of the Economic Advisor the 12 per cent GST levied on artisan-dependent cottage shawl products, advocating for a reduction to the lower 5 per cent slab. Acknowledging the Union Finance Ministry’s mandate in this matter, the KCCI appealed to the Economic Advisor to recommend the case for reducing GST on shawls from 12 per cent to 5 per cent, emphasising the significant role played by the Ministry in the growth and development of the artisanal-based shawl and handicrafts sector.