SRINAGAR: Union Minister of State for Industries and Commerce (I&C), Som Parkash on Thursday interacted with the representatives of various trade bodies of Kashmir at SKICC, Srinagar.
The delegation comprised of the representatives of Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK), Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI), Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
During the interaction, the representatives highlighted various issues pertaining to the industrial sector with the minister. They demanded that the new industrial scheme should be extended to existing industrial unit holders also. They also demanded the handholding of industrialists with capital infusion besides one-time relaxation for the settling of NPAs and other issues.
The representatives also demanded relaxation in SIBAL and Credit ratings for the industrial units of Kashmir besides interest subvention for the next five years and fixation of power tariff for the next five years for the industries.
They also requested for revision of Industrial zones in Kashmir and declaration of the entire Kashmir region as Zone B as the region is industrially backward with no rail connectivity, harsh weather and very less market access.
While interacting with the representatives, the Union Minister said that the Central Government is committed for the revival and handholding of industrial units of Jammu and Kashmir and in that direction the government launched the New Central Sector Scheme for Industrial Development of Jammu & Kashmir with an outlay of Rs. 28,400 crores.
The Minister assured the representatives of trade bodies that all of their genuine demands and concerns will be looked into meticulously and will be resolved on priority.
Director I&C, Kashmir, Tazayun Mukhtar Kawos was also present during the interaction.
Meanwhile, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCC&I) in a statement said that they underlined the issues and suggestions with the minister in the meeting and memorandum. As part of the centre’s outreach programme, the minister was apprised of the slump in economic activities due to continuous disruptions over the past few years and their adverse impact on local business establishments.
“The overall losses incurred over the years have resulted in an unprecedented level of stress on the working capital and finances of the local business establishments. Though there have been several interventions by the Government for extending support but the continuous cycle of disruptions has failed their objectives,” the memorandum read.
The nineteen point memorandum presented to the minister details various issues and suggestions. KCCI demanded full Loan Waiver for small borrowers like artisans, weavers, farmers, transporters including auto-rickshaws and taxi cabs, shikara-wallahs, Travel Agents/ Tour operators, ATV & Ski Scooter Operators, Small Shop-Keepers, pony wallahs etc. up to two lacs.
Similarly KCCI also suggested that for accounts under stress but standard, a 30 % Capital infusion coupled with re-structuring of the accounts needs to be done with repayment schedule of 07-10 years. “For accounts which are NPA post 2014 and need revival package, it is suggested that deep re-structuring which converts their principle liability into a term loan with waiver in the unapplied interest similar capital infusion upto 20%. A fairly extended repayment schedule of about 07-10 years is made applicable to them,” the memorandum read.
According to the memorandum, a standardized OTS Policy needs to be framed in view of the situation on the ground instead of focusing on the amount of collateral security provided by the borrower. It also suggested that 70% of the amount outstanding on the date of being declared NPA should be the final OTS amount out of which 30% should be borne by the Government with a substantial payback period in line with RBI guidelines.
“In the case of self-financed business establishments having no bank exposure, it is suggested a suitable capital infusion for such establishments on softer interest rates be made available,” read the suggestions in memorandum adding that GST reimbursement for the amount paid by the MSME sector is delayed inordinately and needs to be released in the time-bound manner as committed by the government.
As exporters are facing a lot of challenges and difficulties KCCI said that Kashmir is at the far end of India without logistic support as it has no dry port. As result export goods reach Delhi with higher fare rates resulting in losing the competition at the international level.
Keeping these geographical limitations in consideration issues in considerations freight subsidies for both air and road should be given to exporters from Jammu & Kashmir as they can’t compete with others who are close to ports.
The memorandum suggested that State and Centre Government must come up with attractive schemes so that our entrepreneurs who are educated and unemployed youth will attract towards this Export Industry.
In order to promote that local dying handicrafts industry, KCCI demanded handmade items should be exempted from taxes like GST. “To preserve the livelihood of Weavers, Artisans, Traders, Exporters and also the famous art of Cottage Industry, the GST must be waived off on Pashmina Shawls, Carpets, PapierMachie, Crewel, Chain Stitch, Wood Carving,” it said. Further, it suggested that Union Territory Government must come up with Special Schemes for Exporters based on their performance and turnover basis. “Government should declare Special Scheme in which 10% incentives be given to the exporter yearly on performance/turnover basic to encourage the exporters and boost Kashmir Handicrafts,” one of the points in memorandum read.
KCCI further presented demands regarding Silk Carpets which contains more than 60% silk should be given 7% incentives in RODTEP Scheme to encourage and boost Silk Handmade Carpets in Kashmir. Also, there should be a separate ITC (HS) code for Pashmina Shawls and verified by the competent testing laboratory. “No capping should be placed on Pashmina Shawls or other value-added handicraft items under RODTEP Scheme,” the memorandum reads.
Government should give all the benefits to Kashmir Handicrafts and declare it as Special Economic Zone and also develop a warehousing facility at International Airport.
It is also aggrieved that the Department connected with the Exporters such as Banks, ECGC, DGFT do not provide the required awareness to the exporters and facilitate the ease out the process.
It also highlighted the need of the government to promote Carpet Village/City in Sumbal, Sonawari a home of more than 20,000. The Artisans / Weavers available should be identified as Modal Carpet Village which already exists as per Industrial land bank availability. 200 Kanals of land should be initially provided to manufacturers/exporters in an organized way and Stake Holders should be asked to apply online and submit relevant DPR as per their capacity. The infrastructure with this Carpet Village/ City should be fully supported and incent-wise in the form of 90:10 due to the present situation of the carpet business in Kashmir. “This Carpet Village should be installed with all Common Facility Centers wherein Design Development, Dying, Washing, Bank Facilities, Packing,” the memorandum reads as promoting this Carpet Village Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters will come out with the new innovations and designs to cater the International Market.
The memorandum demanded to give incentives like an export subsidy to Silk Handmade Carpets which are exported at a 10% from Jammu & Kashmir region as per Government Order No: 54-IND of 2020 Dated: 10-03-2020(Jammu and Kashmir Wool Processing, Handloom, Handicraft, Policy-2020). It also stressed on the government to support the present manufacturer and exporter to sustain in this present turmoil as most of the accounts are either stressed or turned NPA’s.
KCCI also requested the appointment of Joint Director General Of Foreign Trade (DGFT at Srinagar permanently as problems were expeditiously solved.
It also apprised the minister that entrepreneurs approached KCCI that Ban on Power sanctions for the use of Electric, Induction and Arc Furnaces and implementation of Steel Scrap Recycling Policy must be looked into so that their business units functioned smoothly. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has felt the need of having Expo Marts for Handicrafts products and Carpets were we can Exhibit our products to International Buyers.
“Inland Container Depo in Kashmir will be created which will help our exporters to export directly from Srinagar and increase the products which we are exporting not only but also the volume of present export,” the memorandum presented to the Minister of State, for Industries and Commerce, Som Parkash reads.