Srinagar, September 19: Meeting his earlier commitment made with the business community, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Kumar Sinha today announced a mega relief and revival package of Rs 1350 crore to help the J&K business sector to tide over their problems.
In a press conference at Srinagar, the Lt Governor announced a package of measures, both financial and non-financial, aimed at helping business and entrepreneurs.
Addressing the press conference, Lt Governor also stated that the first part of overall economic package came from Government of India in terms of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. He said that so far Rs 1400 crore has already been provided through JK Bank and other banks under this Abhiyan. He added that it has many components which seek to help business entities in multiple ways such as provision of liquidity and other financial supports. He said that many welfare measures such as free rations and support to the most needy were also being provided.
The Lt Governor said that the main component of today’s package is 5 % interest subvention to all borrowers irrespective of their sizes, which would cost about Rs 950 crore. The interest subvention will be available for six months in the current financial year and it will be a huge relief in the current scenario.
Lt Governor went on to say that government has also decided to provide 50 % waiver of fixed charges for one year with respect to electricity and water which would cost Rs 105 crore. He said that they have also decided to assist bus drivers/conductors, auto/taxi drivers etc who may have lost their livelihood by providing for an appropriate mechanism.
Further 50% or Rs 5.00 lakh subsidy whichever is lower shall provided to the transporters for replacement of old buses and the insurance premium shall be borne by the Government subject to maximum of Rs 5000 per vehicle for Buses/Mini Buses, Rs 3000 for taxes/sumos and Rs 2000 for three wheelers.
For Tourism Sector, subsidy for installation of Bio-digesters in the houseboats has been announced. Assistance shall also be extended out of ‘JK Relief Fund’ to some 19914 Shikara/House Boat owners/Tourist Guides/Pithuwalas/Dandiwalas/Sledge Walas/Pony/Camel Riders and cash assistance of Rs 1000 to all of them given from last 3 months shall be extended for further 06 months ending 31st December, 2020.
There are more than 3100 artists who have lost their livelihood during the pandemic. The artists accociated with the cultural academy shall be paid Rs 1000 per month out of ‘JK Relief Fund’ for a period of 09 months w.e.f 1st April, 2020.
The comprehensive ‘Business Revival Package’ also includes newly rolled out special Covid schemes like Guaranteed Emergency Credit Loan (GECL), Working Capital Demand Loan (WCDL) facility for Private Educational Institutions. J&K Business Support Loan Scheme for hotels and guest houses shall be rolled out on similar lines. Considering the loss suffered by the business community, there shall be extension of additional funding to all eligible borrowers for revival of their stalled business under Guaranteed emergency credit loan.
For agriculture sector, district level bankers committee shall be constituted to ensure loan coverage for agriculture and allied non-farm activities under Mudra loans. Meetings will be organised every month to overcome difficulties faced by the borrowers.
Moreover J&K Bank shall frame customised “Help Tourism” scheme for financial assistance to persons associated with the Tourism Sector with attractive pricing and repayment features. All stake holders shall be taken on board for any modifications.
As far as tax concessions are concerned, the filing of the GST reimbursement claims has also been extended till 31st December, 2020. Handholding to remove difficulties in filing returns and mechanism to avoid delays in reimbursement claims shall be instituted. The accumulated interest shall be converted into funded interest term loan.
A number of administrative measures for different economic sectors are part of this mega package to improve business environment. These are:
1. Online renewal and registration system for transporters/hoteliers shall be put in place.
2. Banks will extend every possible support to houseboat owners, tour & travel operators and shikarawalas and frame a customized scheme for their working capital requirements in consultation with the concerned associations.
3. All renewals of Registration of Hotels, Restaurants and the like shall be done in a time bound manner.
B. Housing and Urban Development
1. STPs of Srinagar will be completed in time bound manner providing relief to Hotels.
2. Building permissions will be given in a time bound manner within 3 months.
C. Agriculture/Horticulture and allied sectors
1. Farmer Producer Organisations will be increased with market linkages.
1. Suitable space for passenger taxi and auto stands will be provided to avoid traffic congestion.
E. Handloom and Handicraft:
1. Handicraft Cluster centres will be set up in specified zones.
2. Handloom parks will be created in J&K and possibilities for development of handloom parks outside J&K will be explored.
3. Registration of Instruments will be done by Revenue Department on daily basis, and not more than 07 days.
F. Focus Groups
1. Special desk shall be created to address youth and women entrepreneurs in the J&K Bank. The facility shall be put in place by the J&K Bank by 1st of October, 2020.
2. Exclusive market space will be created for women entrepreneurs.
3. Creation of Portal for unemployed Youth- A one stop solution with tie-up with employment portals and employers on same platform will be done.
4. Renewal of registration of Schools will be done in a time bound manner and affiliation process with the CBSE board shall be eased out to have more CBSE school registrations.
5. Frequent national and international events shall be organised by the Youth Service and Sports Department to have wider participation. High end events will encourage tourism sector and improve economy of the UT.
In addition to financial package and administration measures, the government has also constituted few committees to look deep into the issues of traders’ community and resolve them as per the current needs and their demands. These include:
1. A committee headed by Administrative Secretary I&C Department with representative of Finance Department will propose issuance of a simplified negative list for industrial incentives within 03 months.
2. A Committee shall be constituted for settlement of Bank, Finance and Industry issues with association representatives as members to be chaired by Finance Department.
3. Constitution of committees in each Province/District involving members of the business associations to address their issues which shall meet every month at district level and every two months at provincial level to settle issues of business community. The committees shall have representatives from I&C/Finance/Banks as its members.
Advisor to Lt Governor, KK Sharma; Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam; Financial Commissioner, Arun Kumar Mehta; Principal Secretary PDD & Information, Rohit Kansal; Principal Secretary to Lt Governor, Nitishwar Kumar; Principal Secretary, Industries & Commerce, MK Dwivedi and Director Information & Public Relations, Dr Syed Sehrish Asgar were also present at the press conference.