Kashmir Inc welcomes Centre’s GST waiver, demands financial package for business revival

Srinagar:  Centre’s GST waiver has rekindled fresh hopes for the business revival in Kashmir.

Ministry of Finance on Monday announced a tax exemption for the businessmen with an annual turnover of Rs 40 lakh. It also announced a composite scheme of paying one percent tax for the units having with Rs 1.5 crore turnover. Earlier the GST exemption limit was Rs 20 lakh.

Welcoming the exemption, Kashmir Inc. said valley’s economy has been ‘bleeding’ for the past one year and they require a comprehensive financial package for business revival.

“We welcome this tax exemption.  For the last one year, Kashmir’s business sector has suffered a lot. Traders need financial assistance from the Centre so that they can start afresh,” said President, Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK), Muhammad Ashraf Mir.

He said the revival of the business in Jammu and Kashmir has become a challenging task for every unit-holder.  “If businesses of Kashmir are not revived then we will face the worst ever unemployment crises. The government has announced a tax exemption, but how is it going to help us when we haven’t earned anything? So the revival of the industries should be the priority,” Mir said.

 Mir said the financial position of business houses in Kashmir has worsened to the extent that they are unable to compete with their counterparts in other parts of the country.

Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) claimed that the majority of the units in Kashmir have failed to file their annual returns due to the uncertain situation.

President of KCCI Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad said the chamber will approach the GST council seeking amnesty for the businessmen of Kashmir.

“We were supposed to submit our annual return in February, which, however, couldn’t happen due to the unavailability of Chartered Accountants. We have been fined. Now we will approach the council to give some relaxation to the valley-based unit-holders,” he said.

Ahmad also welcomed the GST relaxation by the Centre, saying it will provide a ‘much-needed relief’ to the small scale industries.

“The composite scheme for units with above 1.5 crores is equally going to benefit. Apart from these incentives, the government needs to consider reviving businesses in Kashmir,” he said.

The valley’s business sector is in doldrums since the abrogation of article 370 last year and the outbreak of Covid-19.

On an average daily, the business community claims to be incurring a loss of over Rs 100 crore. The tourism and hospitality sectors have suffered the maximum brunt.

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