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Central funds aimed to meet J&K people’s aspirations: Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister suggests favourable GST rates for Kashmir-based products

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said the funds provided by the Centre in the past two years were aimed to meet the aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir.

On her maiden visit to the Union Territory (UT) after the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, she stressed, “People want to grow, their aspirations are there to be realised. It is this common aspiration for which every citizen should be given space and that is being given to the people of Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370.”

She was inaugurating ‘The Chinars’, a new Aayakar (income tax) Bhawan and a residential complex at Srinagar’s Rajbagh. In 2005, the IT building came under a militant attack and has now been relocated to a new place.

Principal commissioner

“A principal commissioner has been allotted to the UT of J&K, which is the 21st in the northwest region of India and 251st all over India. The experienced officer will provide greater information so that tax settlements can be made, facilities can be provided to taxpayers, technology driven facilities would be given,” she noted.

“The importance of collecting legitimate tax is also about a transparent process in which we can explain how the money gets spent,” she observed.

The Minister also inaugurated works amounting to ₹130.49 crore and laid the foundation stone for Union Territory (UT) Level Emergency Operation Centre and SCADA control building at Budgam, Kashmir, under the Jhelum and Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP), a project assisted by a credit of $250 million from the World Bank.

She suggested favourable GST rates for Kashmir-based products. “papier mâché articles will have a discounted rate of GST. Handmade carpets, textiles, floor coverings also get a concessional rate. Besides, hand paintings, drawings, including Bhasoli paintings, will also get a good GST rate,” she remarked.

‘For J&K’s development’

Speaking on the occasion, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha emphasised that every penny of the tax collected would be utilised positively for the betterment and development of J&K.

“The motive behind this tax complex is to connect the people with the process of taxation in a transparent manner. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced a scheme to make tax-paying seamless, paperless and hassle free. The way J&K is moving ahead in development and completion of projects has been possible due to the efforts of the Finance Minister,” he stated.

Under the leadership of Mr. Modi, a ₹28400 crore industrial development scheme had been launched in J&K for the first time. “In the last nine months, projects worth ₹29000 crore have been allotted for the industrial department. Projects worth ₹1400 crore are being sanctioned and the lands have been identified for the works to begin. By December, projects worth ₹35000 crore will get completed,” he added.

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