Majority of the business community in both Kashmir and Jammu provinces Saturday exuded optimism that the industrial package with budgetary outlay of Rs 500 crore announced by the government of India "would give a fillip to the state's economy".
However, some of the industrial associations both in Kashmir and Jammu said there is not much for the existing unit holders in the package and the outlay when seen on yearly bases is not enough.
The central government extended to Jammu and Kashmir an industrial development package on the pattern of North-East states, entitling the newly-established units and those undertaking substantial expansion, to exemption from GST, income tax for five years, apart from transport and other benefits.
The package has been welcomed by majority of business chambers and industrial bodies, stating that it could help revive the state's industrial sector.
Chairman, Kashmir Economic Alliance, Muhammad Yaseen Khan said it is a welcome decision which would help the industrial sector greatly.
"It was a long-pending demand of the business community. The state's economy is already in doldrums and this move can provide it some respite," he said.
President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Sheikh Ashiq said business and investment sentiments in Kashmir are "weak at this moment due to a host of reasons".
"This industrial development package can be of great help for entrepreneurs in the state. We would like to place our appreciation for the state administration for pursuing this issue and getting it approved from the central government," he said.
President, Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Rakesh Gupta, while welcoming the extension of industrial development package for Jammu and Kashmir, said "it should be implemented in letter and spirit. Our state needs hand holding due to geographical disadvantage it faces, and therefore the government should ensure that industries get benefitted from this package".
According to the package, new units will get a reimbursement of GST which they would pay to the central government for a period of five years from the date of commencement of production. The units will also be reimbursed the Centre's share of income tax for five years.
These units will also get a three percent interest subsidy on working capital credit for the first five years.
In addition, they will get a central capital investment incentive amounting to 30 percent of the investment in plant and machinery, with an upper limit. They will also get full reimbursement of insurance premium on buildings, plants and machinery for five years.
President, Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir, Muhammad Ashraf Mir while commenting on the extension of the industrial development package, said, "There was a need to introduce this package as the implementation of GST has broken back of the industrial sector, particularly making it difficult for new unit holders to operate their units. We are optimistic that this package would be of great help."
Chairman, PHD Chamber-Kashmir chapter, Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya said that business community in unison was seeking extension of NE states-type industrial development package.
"It is a decision which is welcomed by all, as it provides a hope for upcoming entrepreneurs."
President, Kashmir Young Entrepreneurs Forum, Babar Chowdhary said the new scheme which has been in vogue in NE states will help J&K's economic sectors.
However, former president FCIK, Shakeel Qalander said that government should also take into consideration the plight of existing unit holders who are facing lot of problems.
"The government should devise a policy for them too," he said.
President of his faction of FCIK, Mukhtar Yusuf, said: "Industrial package extended to Jammu and Kashmir Friday will neither boost industrialisation nor act as a saviour to the existing distressful industry."
Bari Brahmana Industries Association in a statement said the department of industrial policy and promotion has "betrayed industrial sector of J&K for not granting the fiscal incentives like Income Tax Reimbursement, GST Reimbursement and other incentives to the existing units and units under substantial expansion, resulting in unhealthy competition amongst the units working prior to 15-06-2017 and units to be established under the said scheme".