STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: Various political, social and trader organizations evoked mixed response to the Union Budget presented by the Finance Minister, Piyush Goyal.
Y.V Sharma, former President CCI, Jammu and President All India Professionals’ Congress, J&K State termed it as yet another bundle of illusory promises. Welcoming the exemption limit of Rs 5 lakh, Sharma regarded this budget as very depressing for the farmers, unemployed youth and other marginalized sections of society. Giving benefit of Rs 500 per month to the farmers having less than two hectares of land is a humiliating joke. Adding to their hardships by increasing the rates of diesel, petrol, electricity and other infrastructure and the giving them a benefit of Rs 500 per month speaks of the non seriousness of the government towards the fate of the farmers, he asserted, adding that the miserable plight of the farmers deserve a well thought out plan for ameliorating their lot. Sharma opined that it is difficult to comment on the budget in the absence of various details and clarifications. He doubted the implementation of various schemes and on their fate. “It just appears an election budget without any roadmap for its implementation like the promises before the 2014 elections which were never fufilled during their tenure,” he added Sharma repeated the remarks of Nitin Gadkiri who indirectly warned the government that the voters beat the party which does not live upto its false promises.
Bari Brahmana Industries Association (BBIA) hailed the Interim Budget 2019-20 presented by Piyush Goyal in which relief was provided to the common people of the country. “It is pertinent to mention here that rapid industrialization in our State is the need to provide employment to the local youths of the State but no State Fiscal Incentives are available in J&K for new units for which the association request the Prime Minister to provide requisite funds from Central Government to State Government,” Lalit Mahajan, President BBIA said, adding “Also sanction Public Sector Undertaking like Rail Coach/Workshop Unit, Sugar Mill etc which will open the doors for the MSME Sector of our State to establish units to cater to the demand of Public Sector Under taking.” State BJP unit termed the Union Budget as people friendly reflecting the vision of Modi government.
BJP State President, Ravinder Raina said that it is the budget of poor, middle class, businessmen, defence forces, farmers, youngsters and development. Raina emphasized that this budget has reflected upon the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”. He said that Modi led Central Government has taken not one, not ten but hundreds of decisive steps that can only be taken by a truly Nationalist person, striving for taking Nation to the top of the world and this budget represents BJP’s strong will and love for Nation. Raina said that though the medium of this people friendly budget, PM Modi has fulfilled the demand of common mass to raise the tax slab from earlier Rs 2.5 to 5 lakh now, which will help in improving the tax compliance and benefit around Rs 3 Crore people. This budget has also gifted free LPG cylinders from 6 crore to 8 crore, hence giving relief to more number of women across the nation. Proving love for the Nation’s defence, the defence budget is also hiked substantially, while farmers are also given the major benefits in this budget, Raina said and added that rural roads, animal husbandry and other sectors are also given boost in this budget, thus touching lives of every “Aam Aadmi” in this friendly budget.
Reacting to the Union Budget announcements, Rakesh Gupta, President JCCI welcomed the various initiatives taken especially the massive increase in the defence budget which was of utmost importance keeping in view the security concerns and external threats being faced by our country, initiatives to uplift the poor and weaker sections of the society, massive spending on infra which would help in growth of GDP of consumer driven debt financed economy, extension of affordable housing PM’s initiative by one year and the pension scheme for the weaker section above 60 years. The JCCI felt that there should have been some relaxation in GST regime wherein services are being taxed as highest as 18 per cent affecting every citizen of the country. He also mentioned that some permanent solution of the farmers’ income problem should have been considered by way of providing Budget for space and infra to sell their agriculture produce directly so that real value of their produce could be realised. He also said that some interest subsidy subvention scheme should have been announced for the traders who are the major part of MSME sector and facing the worst crises because of implementation of GST especially in a State like Jammu & Kashmir where even ‘One Nation One Tax’ after the GST has not been implemented by the State government. The Chamber President raised doubts regarding the Union Budget announcements being implemented by J&K State Government considering the non-implementation of ‘One Nation One Tax’ wherein a sum of Rs 900 crore under the guise of State toll on goods being collected in addition to the GST. Reacting to the announcement that there shall be no Income Tax upto the Income of Rs 5 lakh the Jammu Chamber feels it is just a honey trap as it has been linked to a particular section in the Income Tax Act and shall not be a big relief or a permanent relief. The Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry hoped that the PMO takes urgent note of the Prime Minister’s initiatives and announcements being defeated by the J&K administration for their vested interests seriously.
Chamber of Traders Federation Jammu said that the Union Budget though seems to be good has neglected the trading community and has also highly disappointed the traders. President, CTF and National Vice President CAIT, Neeraj Anand said that every other section of the economy has been given relief in the budget except the trading community which is the backbone of the economy. After renaming DIPP as Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and giving no extension to FDI policy in e-commerce, the traders were hopeful that they will get due attention in the Budget but with no such sign, the traders feeling are aggrieved. The members later decided that a fresh memorandum would be sent to Union Finance Minister, Piyush Goyal, asking for inclusion of traders interest. Anand also demanded that Income Tax exemption limit should be uniformly applicable to all taxpayers. The Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) and Federation of Industries Jammu (FOIJ) has sharply reacted to the latest announcement of State Government declaring incentives for only new Industrial Units and units under substantial expansion with an investment above Rs 50 crore. The matter was discussed in a meeting held by the Chairman Federation of Industries Jammu (FOIJ)and The Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) in which serious concern was raised due to non-availability of State Fiscal Incentives for new units and units under Substantial Expansion resulting great resentment amongst the unemployed sons of the soil as they are not able to set up their units due to non availability of State Fiscal Incentives.
Pawan Gupta, President, All Jammu Hotels and Lodges Association welcomed the Union Budget for giving benefits and reliefs to middle class, jawans, farmers, salaried class, women and old age people. “The historic decision of raising income tax exemption from Rs 2.5 to 5 lakh is praiseworthy. But so far as the promotion and revival of tourism in general and particularly for Jammu is concerned, nothing has been touched, thereby disappointing the tourism industry. The earlier announcements such as upgradation of Jammu Railway Station and making Jammu as an independent tourist destination still needs due attention for fulfilling the promises made during earlier budgets,” Gupta added.
JKNPP, Zonal President, Neeraj Gupta termed the present Budget as an election budget. In the budget, although many attractive policies and rebates have been announced but the fact is that this budget has been made keeping in view the 2019 elections. In budget it is not discussed that from where the government will compensate the extra burden. “There is no provision in Budget for women and unemployed youth,” he added.
Senior Trade Union Leader and Senior Vice Chairman of JK ReT Teachers Forum Bhupinder Singh said that lakhs of employees of Jammu and Kashmir are protesting for regularisation policy and their pending salaries as well as pending arrears.
“We were hoping that Central Government will announce some package for the unregularised employees of Jammu and Kashmir to settle their regularisation issue but the Union Budget has disappointed them,” he said. He said governments are not paying due attention towards the genuine issues of employees.
Vinod Sharma, State President J&K ReT Teachers Forum hailed the hike in the income tax slab up to Rs 5 lakh as it would certainly give a relief to middle class employees who have no other source of income. Interim Budget 2019-20 has done a fine balancing act between the economic compulsions of fiscal consolidation and catering to the imperatives of inclusive growth in an election year, stated Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). “CII applauds the government for presenting a transformational Budget, which, apart from focusing on the near-term measures, has laid out a comprehensive 10-Dimensional Vision roadmap for improving the ease of living for the citizens of the country. The Budget announced significant measures to revitalize the fortunes of rural India and bring the unorganized sector workers under the social security ambit”, stated Rakesh Bharti Mittal, President, CII. “The measures announced in the Budget are likely to provide a significant impetus to consumption spending in the economy, which will boost growth in the near to medium term. In an astute balancing act, the Finance Minister has presented a budget, which addresses issues of every segment of society. This a truly a ‘People’s Budget'”, he added. Tax Bar Association Jammu termed the Budget presented by Piyush Goyal as a mixed dose of eye on development and votes. “The government has tried to present a budget with big giveaways to the middle class, small farmers and the rural population. The major expectations of people especially middle class has been given much awaited and deserving relief by announcing that those with an annual salary of up to Rs. 5 lakh will not have to pay income tax,” Sunil Sharma, President Tax Bar Association Jammu said.
“However, education sector has been neglected and no major reforms have been announced. Our Prime Minister has recently interacted with the students not to be under stress for exams, he should have announced some initiation to make the curriculum which does not stress the students,” he said. “We hope that the concluding remarks of Piyush Goyal that “We will transform India into a leading nation of the world with the help of our people” are followed with the intent which they convey,” he added.
Isha Sharma, a homemaker said, “Interim Budget-2019 has proved to be Godly Budget for Salaried Middle Class. This section has got more than they had even anticipated with block-buster tax reduction announcements. In this budget, government has tried to cover all the people, especially farmers who were in a lot of distress and discontent, so by announcing an assured income for farmers would help to take a sting out of their distress and also add to the vote bank in the upcoming elections.”
Sham Sharma, a Retd CEO shared, “I believe the budget 2019 has been a balanced budget keeping in mind the upcoming elections. It has met the multiple objectives of stoking consumption, reducing farmer distress, reducing tax burden for salaried middle class while managing the fiscal deficit is an appreciable step. The budget provided a consumption boost to farmers and middle-class households which is the need of the hour.”
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