Burden from the past

Published at January 02, 2019 01:08 AM 0Comment(s)3321views

Burden from the past

Business fraternity in Kashmir has expressed disappointment over losses suffered by the traders and businessmen in 2018. Kashmir Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Kashmir Traders Manufacturers Federation and Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance have unequivocally stated that the business in Kashmir slumped and cited different reasons including the demonetization of currency in 2016 and GST implementation since 2017. The Kashmir chamber has also said that the decline in business in Kashmir was also registered due to frequent shutdowns and barring of internet services in the valley. The chambers has pointed out that authorities had suspended internet 108 times in year 2018. KTMF has squarely blamed GST for hitting the business in valley and the traders’ body said it is expecting benefits offered to Industry Department under North East Industrial Development Scheme. The tourism fraternity has also blamed high airfares to be the cause of business drop-off in 2018. Growers in Kashmir have also expressed their dissatisfaction following the damage to the crops and orchards by early snow and their pending demand of genuine assistance from the government. In 2019, as business fraternity carries the burden of 2018, it remains to be seen how the state and central government are going to reach out to the disgruntled traders. On January 11 last year (2018) then Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu presented the budget proposal with a revenue component of Rs 51,244.72 crore and capital component of Rs 44,422.24 crore. As the budget was being prepared, the local business fraternity had its eyes fixed on the anticipated budget. Last month, before the Governor administration approved the state budget, business and trade bodies had prepared a wish list and presented it to Governor Satya Pal Malik. The wish list was rather elaborate covering loan restructuring, government intervention in purchase of power, infusion of capital equity, streamlining of GST procedures, etc. While there cannot be any affirmative action from the government on issues like shutdowns, it can however salvage 2019 by addressing some of the problems of business and trade bodies in Kashmir. It is wrong approach of the business fraternity to hand over a long list of business pitfalls. Instead the bodies must focus on key issues and get them settled first. The traders’ amalgam must prioritize the concerns and take them one at a time. In a bid to get everything on the table, they destroy the chance of genuine settlement on important issues.         


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