The businessmen in Kashmir are disappointed with the budget announced by the union finance minister, Arun Jaitley in the Parliament today. Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry President told KNS that the traders had hoped that the Government of India will announce tax holiday for Kashmir, but that did not happen. “We were demanded tax holiday for Kashmir because of the flood in 2014 affected our trade to a huge extent. But it was not announced. We were expected special incentives for handicrafts because our export in handicrafts declined after flood. It too was not announced,” Wani told KNS. Wani said that the traders had also demanded IIT and IIM for the Kashmir region, “but we are disappointed at that front too.” “The budget is a disappointment for the state and particularly for Kashmir,” he said. Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Association, Mohammad Yasin Khan told KNS that the traders in the Valley had expected that the Government of India will announce rebate in tax for the state which have been severely affected by flood in 2014. “The BJP government in New Delhi was aware of the magnitude of the devastation wrought by the 2014 flood. Despite that the budget appears hollow for us,” Khan said. The trade union leader said that due to the coming fruit season the traders had hoped that the central government would announce in the budget some reduction in fares for the transporters. “Reduction in fares would facilitate the transport of Kashmiri fruits to different fruit markets. It would surely have given fillip to our trade and the fruit industry,” he said. Showkat Choudhary, Kashmir Economic Alliance Chairman, told KNS that budget announced by the GoI will bring more miseries to the people of the state than any relief. “The GoI has increased the defense budget which will obviously impact Kashmiri people as the Central government will procure new weapons to use against the people here,” Choudhary told KNS. “Though we had not much expectation from the BJP government, yet we thought that for political objectives the BJP might announce something special for Jammu and Kashmir. But that was not to be,” he said. Social activist Shakeel Qalander called the budget as “great disappointment” for the state. “The Budget has proved that the GoI treats Kashmir with a discriminatory approach. People affected by flood has expected some relief to be announced but the GoI ignored them,” he told KNS. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented his third Union Budget in which he announced a slew of schemes, and income tax exemptions to support the small tax-payer and the small investor.
2015 Kashmir Despatch