Business community discover ‘anomaly’ in revival package, to approach LG Sinha

AVINAV VERMA. Updated: 9/26/2020 11:13:09 AM Front Page

Jammu: Six days after widely welcoming a mega package for the revival of businesses and economy of Jammu and Kashmir of worth Rs 1352 crore, the representatives of different organinsations of trade and industries have decided to approach Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha for the modification in the policy to make it more non-discriminatory.
Importantly, the 60 percent of package, amounting to Rs 950 crore, was demarcated specifically waiving off 5 per cent interest for the business community amid pandemic and after the decision of August 5, 2019. Another key component of the package is waiver of fixed charges of electricity, amounting Rs 80 crore.
One week after the announcement of the package, the representative of business community have realized the policy welcomes only the subscriber of the J&K Bank while as 20-25 per cent small traders have their account in other banks including in State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB) and other private banks.
The package announced by J&K government reads, “Interest subvention of 5% in case of all borrower except excluding borrowers under KCC, ACC, Loan against deposits, Loans under personal segments, NBFCs for a period of 6 months with effect from April 1, 2020.”
In the package government also clarified that the benefits shall be available to those borrowers whose accounts were standard on 31 July 2019 or 31 March 2020 whichever is applicable. However, this made applicable to those traders, who have account in J&K Bank.
“Waiver off 50 % of the fixed charges of Electricity in respect of the Industries and Commercial Establishments for a period of 1 year from September, 2019 to September, 2020,” the package reads.
Principal Secretary Industries and Commerce, J&K, M K Dwivedi confirms the reports. “The notification received by Jammu and Kashmir Finance Department clarified the interest subvention of 5% is applicable to only J&K Bank account holders,” he said.
He further clarified that the waiver off 50 % of the fixed charges of Electricity will applicable between the months of January to December 31.
Bari Brahmana Industries Association (BBIA) president Lalit Mahajan said that the issue came in their notice today. “The impressions we are getting interest wavier is only J&K Bank holder. But we cannot comment till clarity from J&K administration,” he said.
He added that the government should waive interest all borrowers even they have account in private banks.
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).Sheikh Ashiq, said “ I am not aware of the issue.’
“I believe the decision is for all borrowers including account holders in private banks. If there is such issue we will take up matter with higher authorities,” he said.
On September 19, Jammu & Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha had announced a Rs 1,350 cr economic package for the business sector and a 50% rebate on electricity and water bills for a year for all sectors in the Union territory.
“I have met almost 35 delegations from various sectors... a committee was framed which was headed by my advisor KK Sharma. The committee submitted its report on time...on the recommendations of the committee, the package [has been announced]...” Sinha had said. “This is a beginning and more things are in the offing.”
Sinha’s announcement comes as businesses in the region are reeling under massive losses since August 2019 when a lockdown and communications blackout were imposed to prevent protests against the Centre’s move to divest Jammu & Kashmir of its special status and to split it into two Union territories. Mobile internet services continue to remain restricted in the region even as other restrictions have eased. Covid-19 and the lockdown imposed this summer to check its spread turned out to be a double whammy for the businesses. Restrictions on mobile internet have hurt e-commerce that has gained elsewhere in the world during the pandemic.

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