Affected badly by the Covid-19 pandemic, Jammu and Kashmir’s business sector has got a massive relief with J&K’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha announcing a package of ₹1,350 crore. Sinha took oath last month as the Union Territory’s L-G.
A key highlight of the announcement is a discount of 50% in water and electricity bills which will cover small and medium enterprises, tourism industry and other sectors.
“This is in addition to the benefits of the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan, earlier announced by Prime Minister Modi,” Sinha said, emphasizing that stamp duty is exempt till March 2021 for all borrowers.
A new industrial policy will be announced soon to revive the industrial sector, which has suffered huge losses since August 5 last year when the Centre removed J&K’s special status under Article 370, the L-G told the media.
Last month, he had said a panel will be set up to work out modalities for the economic revival of the union territory and extending support to its business community.
The panel submitted its report before the deadline of September 1. “This is for the first time here in so many years that a committee has submitted the report in the given time-frame which was 12 days,” said Sinha.
“We have decided to give 5% interest subvention to every borrower from the business community, without any conditions, for six months in the current financial year. This will bring a huge relief for them and will help in generating employment,” said Sinha.
“For one year, we will be giving a 50% concession in water and electricity bills. We will be spending ₹ 105 crore on this. This will particularly benefit farmers and businessmen,” said Sinha.
He said the relief package will also cover those sectors that have suffered losses in the newly created UT.
The package was announced just days after Kashmir Trade Alliance (KTA), an umbrella of various trade bodies, had earlier stated that due to coronavirus pandemic lockdown, businessmen have incurred huge losses.
To promote the handloom and handicraft sector, Sinha said that under the credit card scheme, the administration has decided to extend the maximum limit of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh for people working in handloom and handicraft industry. They will also be given 7% interest subvention.
Sinha said from October 1, the Jammu and Kashmir Bank will start a special desk for youth and women enterprises.