L-G Manoj Sinha announces ₹1,350 cr economic package to boost tourism, other sectors in J&K

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha announced a ₹1,350-crore economic package for the Union Territory on September 19 to give a much needed boost to tourism and other sectors hit by the economic slowdown caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the security scenario.

As a part of the package, the government has waived 50% of the electricity and water bill amounts for a year across Jammu and Kashmir with an aim to bring a huge relief to farmers, families and businesses.

Mr. Sinha also hinted that the Centre is actively considering an “unprecedented and historic package” for assistance to business entities, which will cover both the existing and new enterprises and will be a big boost to business and industry in Jammu and Kashmir.

Announcing this, the L-G said, “You know that at the most, a 2% interest subvention is provided and that is what the people expect as well. However, keeping in mind the special situation here — businesses have been suffering for the last about 20 years — we have decided to give an interest subvention of 5% without any discrimination to all businesses whether small, medium or heavy. This is an unprecedented decision.”

He said the Union Territory administration will directly support this with ₹950 crore.

Mr. Sinha also announced that stamp duty has been exempted in case of all borrowers up to March next year.

He said the new economic package is apart from the package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan.

“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 creation of jobs, strengthening of businesses and coming together of families for a quick bounce-back of Jammu and Kashmir’s economy. I have twin objectives — ensure more money in people’s pockets and offer more opportunity for the revival of Jammu and Kashmir’s economy,” Mr. Sinha said while making his agenda open to the people of the Union Territory.

“Green shoots of economic revival are visible and I am confident that with this package, we will be able to steer Jammu and Kashmir through the current crisis,” he said.

The L-G said under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, ₹1,400 crore have already been provided to people through the Jammu and Kashmir Bank.

He added that the government is working on a structured mechanism and package for taxi drivers, transporters, autorickshaw drivers, houseboat owners, shikarawallas and other affected people

“We are setting up a customised help tourism scheme by the Jammu and Kashmir Bank for financial assistance to persons associated with the tourism sector with attractive pricing and repayment features. We are setting up an exclusive land bank and will make available land for warehouses in industrial estates and food parks,” Mr. Sinha said.

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