Srinagar, Feb 1: As Kashmir's trade community delves into the details of the Interim Union Budget, their consensus is that there is room for improvement to address the concerns of the business community in the Valley.
Javed Tenga, President Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, expressed that there weren't high expectations from this budget, considering it's an interim arrangement until a new government is formed at the Centre.
"However, we would have loved to see it offering special emphasis on Jammu and Kashmir, increasing import duty on foreign apples to boost sales of local produce, promotion of the handicraft sector, etc. Though the budget has laid focus on the promotion of tourism, which is a good sign, and the enhancement in demand for grants is also a welcome move."
Tenga said that the trade community in Kashmir has higher expectations from the upcoming J&K Budget, anticipated to be presented during the ongoing parliamentary session.
Abrar Khan, Chairman of the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation, expressed a positive view of the budget's emphasis on startups and employment generation.
However, he highlighted the need to closely examine how the budget addresses the broader issue of unemployment in the country.
" For Kashmir, there is nothing specific which we would have loved, we expect that this interim budget will try to address the issues confronting Kashmir's economy as we have already taken up the issue at the various forums and with the government functionaries."
Aijaz Shahdhar, President of Kashmir Trade Alliance, conveyed his appreciation for the significant allocation, highlighting that Rs 35,619.30 crore has been earmarked specifically to bridge the resource gap in the Union Territory. Shahdhar emphasized that this allocation is expected to provide a substantial boost to the local economy.
Shahdar acknowledged the Union Finance Minister's strategic move of maintaining the tax slab unchanged, which is seen as a supportive measure for the middle class nationwide. Shahdhar expressed optimism that in the upcoming J&K Budget, the Union Finance Minister will consider and address additional concerns raised by the trading community, contributing further to the economic development of Kashmir.
Shahdhar expressed optimism that their concerns, encompassed requests such as amnesty for commercial power consumers, a business stimulus package, and other demands from the trading community.
Farhan Kitab, President CAIT Kashmir Chapter, expressed disappointment over the unchanged income tax slab. He mentioned that if the income tax slab had been increased, it could have enhanced consumers' spending capacity, subsequently providing a boost to businesses.