Saying that formulation of road map for faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth is the fulcrum of state’s planning and budgeting, the Minister for Finance & Ladakh Affairs, Abdul Rahim Rather on Sunday said that all the possibilities and opportunities will be pooled to make the budget proposals for ensuing financial year representative to the needs and aspirations of the people.
Speaking to the members and representatives of PHDCC, Institute of Public Opinion, Industrial Associations of IGC Samba, Bari Brahmana, Kathua Gangyal and various Transport Associations of Jammu on the second consecutive day of pre-budget discussions, Rather said while it was endeavor of the government to make the budget proposals pro-people and business friendly, the trade and Industry too has an obligation to cooperate with the tax enforcing agencies at various levels, keeping in view the revenue interests of the state and ensure that there is zero tax evasion.
“Revenue mobilization is pivotal for development and progress of a resource starved state like J&K and it should be the joint responsibility of all the stake holders including trade, industry and the government in itself to make no compromise in this regard.” Rather asserted and asked the business community to aspire for more tax concessions and incentives only proportionate to the state’s revenue resources.
He said despite having meager resources, the government has extended unprecedented tax relief to the people especially trade and industry during last 3 years, which is in itself a record in the history of the state.
“Instead of levying fresh taxes, it has been preferred to bring further reforms and improvements in the existing tax and fiscal management system which has paid rich dividends, resulting in two fold increase in tax revenue of the state in 3 years, from Rs. 2600 Crore in 2009 to Rs. 5500 Crore in 2012-13,” said Rather.
Talking about the initiatives of Omar led government, Rather said, with a view to mitigate hardships of the business community on account of traffic jams and wastage of time in tax clearance, the government has recently commissioned one of the best in the country, fully computerized New Toll Plaza at Lakhanpur hoping that it will prove a turnaround in the promotion of trade and industrial growth in the state.
“But traders shall have to abide by the rules and regulations to ensure zero percent tax evasions and law violations,” adding that “it was disheartening to note that 24000 suspected violations have been reported at the Toll Post in last fiscal against only 2 per cent seizures, though government follows the policy of no seizures at all.”
He said only random 4-5 vehicles are presently detained for physical checks at the Toll Plaza, Lakhanpur, adding that the government endeavors to further minimize such checks for convenience of the business and transporters fraternity.
“Taxable imports recorded at Commercial Taxes Checkpost Lakhanpur have increased from Rs. 4275 Crore in the year 2000-2001 to Rs. 21544.26 Crore upto ending November of the current financial year whereas exports during the same period rose from Rs. 904 Crore to Rs. 8598 Crore.”
The delegations presented their memoranda of demands and raised various issues which mainly included VAT remission extension, annual assessment of raw material/finished goods for toll tax exemption, 3 per cent interest subsidy to industrial units set up prior to 2002 also, reduction in electricity duty, amnesty scheme by PDD, creation of new industrial estates and marketing support to local SSI Units.