Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday, September 19 announced an economic package of ₹1,350 crore to revive the business in the newly-formed Union Territory.
"We have approved an economic package of ₹1,350 crores for Jammu and Kashmir's struggling business community. This is additional to the benefits of the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan, earlier announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Sinha said while addressing a press conference.
Adding that an important component of the package involved a discount of 50 per cent in water and electricity bills for industrial and commercial users for one year.
"For one year, we will be giving a 50 per cent concession in water and electricity bills. We will be spending ₹ 105 crores on this. This will benefit farmers, normal people, businessman and others," the L-G said.
He further said that a new industrial policy will be announced soon to revive the industrial sector which had witnessed huge losses after the removal of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370.
Stressing that several unprecedented decisions had been taken in the economic package, he said "We have decided to give 5 per cent interest subvention to every borrower from the business community for six months. It is unprecedented and will help in generating employment. The government is putting ₹950 crore for this."
The L-G also announced that stamp duty has been exempted for all borrowers till March 2021. He further announced that those associated with the handloom and handicraft sectors will get an enhanced credit of Rs 2 lakh in their credit cards and also a seven-per cent interest subvention to improve these sectors.
"From October 1, J&K bank will set up a special desk for the youth and women entrepreneurs," he added.
The administration also decided to extend assistance to the bus drivers, conductors, auto/taxi drivers to help them tide over the on-going coronavirus pandemic.
"A further 50% or ₹5 lakh subsidy, whichever is lower, shall be provided to the transporters for replacement of old buses and the insurance premium shall be borne by the Government," Sinha announced.
Keeping the tourism sector into consideration, the administration also announced aid in installing bio-digesters in the houseboats. For around 3,100 artists, who have lost their livelihood during the pandemic, ₹1,000 will be paid per month out of the J&K Relief Fund for a period of nine months from April 1.
"Overall, this economic package is historic in terms of volume and reach. I can see that Kashmiris are eager to contribute to the growth of the Union Territory as they are fed up with the cross-border terrorism sponsored by our neighbour. I strongly feel that it is our collective responsibility to ensure that a lot of money goes into the creation of jobs, strengthening of businesses and coming together of families for a quick bounce-back of Jammu and Kashmir's economy," Sinha said.
L-G Sinha had constituted a committee on August 18 to assess the help required by the business community of Jammu and Kashmir. The committee was also tasked to suggest appropriate administrative measures to boost banking, industry, tourism, agriculture and handicrafts.
The committee which was headed by KK Sharma, the advisor to the L-G, submitted its report on September 1 after deliberations with at least 35 business organisations from Srinagar and Jammu.
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