Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Saturday sought financial package for J&K’s handicraft sector, MSMEs, and tourism sector saying the timely bailout, and augmented incentivisation will help out the local industries stay afloat.
Party additional general Secretary Dr Mustafa Kamaal while expressing concern over the plight of numerous people associated with Handicraft sector in J&K said that the sector had already taken a major hit due to GST and the interminable tumultuous situation in J&k since 2015.
“The cancellation of orders, missed exhibitions, heavy taxation, and the continuous tumultuous situation is J&k has caused immense distress to the people associated with the handicraft sector. A sizeable chunk of population in Srinagar and elsewhere in Kashmir is associated with handicrafts of all hues. They had now pinned their hopes on the year 2020, assuming that a good tourist season and enhanced economic activity will help them tide over the meltdown. But it turned out a hard cheese for them; they are reeling under debt. With nowhere to go, they have now pinned their hopes on the government.”
While seeking financial assistance for marginalized industrial players, small and medium scale industries and budding entrepreneurs in J&k, Dr Kamaal said, “The need of the hour calls for an emergency stimulus package to such businesses. If some booster-steps aren’t taken on urgent priority, it would be difficult to pull them out from the bleak situation they find themselves in.”
The hospitality sector also presents a sorry tale no different from other pivotal sectors, he said while expressing concern over the squalid situations the marginal hoteliers, houseboat owners are going through. “They had already suffered major reverses post Aug 5 last year. The story remains the same this year too. With nil room occupancy, no tourist arrivals, tourism advisories the people associated with the trade are on the brink of collapse.”
He further said, “It is now for the government to prepare a well-thought-out policy to help the affected traders, hoteliers, and artisans stand bank on the feet. The succour should come in the shape of extension of the moratorium period on loans, decreasing custom duties, excise fees, water and electricity charges. It is high time for the government to get in touch with the affected lot to come up with a calibrated response for the economic challenges the COVID-19 has thrown at us.”
Meanwhile, party’s senior leaders Sakina Itoo, Dr Sajad Uri, Mir Saifullah, Kafil ur Rahman have asked the J&K government to ensure effective amenities to people living in frontier districts and rural areas saying the people are having a hard time to purchase edibles, medicines and other necessary merchandise.