Out of ₹35,581 crores for J&K, ₹33,923 crores have been allocated to meet the revenue deficit and resource gap

Traders and political parties in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday described the Centre’s budget announcement of ₹35,581 crores for the Union Territory, on account of its revenue component, as “disappointing” and “far below the expectations”.

Out of ₹35,581 crores for J&K, ₹33,923 crores have been allocated to meet the revenue deficit and resource gap. Besides, ₹279 crores were allocated as grants for disaster response fund, ₹273 crores for rehabilitation of the Dal and Nageen lakes, ₹476.44 crores grant towards equity contribution for the 624 MW Kiru power project and ₹500 crores support for capital expenditure.

“We were expecting big announcements for the revival of businesses. Till the present businesses in J&K are not offered a hand holding, unemployment will only go up. We expected special schemes for local entrepreneurs,” Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) president Sheikh Ashiq said.

Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) secretary general Ovees Qadir Jamie said the Budget has nothing to boost demand in the MSME sector. “J&K’s industrial sector required special package. The Budget has no road map for the J&K industrial sector. The existing industry is turning sick in J&K,” Mr. Jamie said.

Ejaz Ayoub, a banker and columnist, said the compete details of J&K’s annual Budget are yet to be announced. “Given the exponentially high unemployment, rising poverty, inflation and failing businesses in J&K, a comprehension economic revival packaging was expected. Let’s hope the UT Budget when announced in totality has some good surprises for the battered economy of J&K,” Mr. Ayoub said.

Industry ignored

National Conference (NC) spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said the Budget failed to enthuse all stakeholders “as it was prepared without public participation and consultation with the stakeholders in J&K”.

“The Budget has failed to tackle the problems of unemployment and inflation. It will only increase inequality and leave the largest section of our population, including unemployed youth, artisans, horticulturalists and transporters, vulnerable than ever. It has disappointed Kashmir Inc., which was hoping relief in the times of pandemic,” Mr. Dar said.

He said the Budget proved that the ruling regime at New Delhi was only using J&K as a vote minting entity to claw its way back to power in elections after elections.

Peoples Conference vice president Abdul Gani Vakil accused the Centre of “ignoring J&K’s fruit industry”.

“The government was expected to announce a waiver on the KCC loans for fruit growers, who are facing acute hardships. The Centre should come up with a comprehensive economic package and compensation to the orchardists and farmers,” he added

In Jammu, Mission Statehood headed Sunil Dimple held a protest and burnt the copies of the Budget.

“Majority of people are disappointed with the Budget. J&K traders and transporters got a big zero in the Budget.”

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