Meets Parliamentary Standing Committees
Srinagar: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) led by its President Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad and Farooq Amin had an interaction with Parliamentary Standing Committees.
The trade body met with PSC for development of Handlooms, Handicrafts and welfare measures for the weavers and artisans in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and PSC on Augmenting Infrastructure Facilities to Boost Exports from J&K.
The KCCI delegation discussed various points during the meeting, a statement issued here reads.
“Exporters are facing a lot of challenges and difficulties with regard to exports from the Kashmir region. As we are at the far end of India without logistic support as still we have no dry port with the result export goods reach Delhi with higher fare rates resulting in losing the competition at international level,” they told the PSCs.
“So freight subsidies are given to exporters from Jammu & Kashmir as they can’t compete with others, who are close to ports. Kashmir has a geographical disadvantage in logistics in respect of road transport. In order to increase exports and make our products competitive in the international market, there is a need to subsidize freight both air and road.”
“State and Centre Governments must come up with attractive schemes so that our entrepreneurs/new educated/unemployed youth will attract towards this Export Industry,” they said.
The KCCI delegation also demanded that all handmade items should be exempted from taxes like GST. “To preserve the livelihood of Weavers, Artisans, Traders, Exporters who are involved in handmade Handicraft and also the famous art of Cottage Industry, the GST must be waived off on Pashmina Shawls, Carpets, Papier Machie, Crewel, Chain Stitch and Wood Carving.”
The Union Territory Government must come up with Special Schemes for Exporters based on their performance/turnover basis. Government should declare a Special Scheme in which 10% incentives be given to the exporter yearly on performance/turnover basis to encourage the exporters and boost Kashmir Handicrafts.”
Those Silk Carpets which contains more than 60% silk should be given 7% incentives in RODTEP Scheme to encourage and boost Silk Handmade Carpets in Kashmir, the statement said, adding that there should be a separate ITC (HS) code for Pashmina Shawls and verified by the competent testing laboratory. “No capping should be placed on Pashmina Shawls or other value added handicraft items under the RODTEP Scheme.”
The delegation demanded that the government should give all the benefits to Kashmir Handicrafts and declare it as a Special Economic Zone and also pitched for a warehousing Facility at International Airport.
The department connected with the Exporters such as Banks, ECGC, DGFT do not provide the required awareness to the exporters, the delegation said, adding that the government must promote Carpet Village/City in Sumbal, Sonawari were where we have more than 20,000 Artisans/Weavers available be identified as Modal Carpet Village which is already existing as per Industrial land bank availability. “200 Kanals of land should be initially provided to manufacturers/exporters in an organized way and Stakeholders should be asked to apply online and submit relevant DPR as per their capacity.”
“Infrastructure with this Carpet Village/ City should be fully supported and incent-wise in the form of 90:10 due to the present situation of carpet business in Kashmir. This Carpet Village should be installed with all Common Facility Centers wherein Design Development, Dying, Washing, Bank Facilities, Packing. To promote this Carpet Village wherein Carpet Manufacturers/ Exporters will come out with the new innovations and designs to cater the International Market.”
They also pitched for the incentives like Export Subsidy to Silk Handmade Carpets which are exported at a 10% from Jammu & Kashmir region as per Government Order No: 54-IND of 2020 Dated: 10-03-2020(Jammu and Kashmir Wool Processing, Handloom, Handicraft, Policy-2020). As the declining of exports is worsening every year, it is requested to issue Public Notice for the above said incentive given in the Policy so that manufacturers and exporters get encouraged.
Government must give support to the present manufacturer/exporter to sustain in this present turmoil as most of the accounts are either stressed or turned NPA’s, the statement added, adding that 100% Freight Subsidy from Jammu and Kashmir to the relevant ports should be reimbursed as we are at the far end of India.
Office of the Joint Director (DGFT):- Till a few years back the office at Srinagar was being manned and managed by the Joint Director (DGFT) and our problems and needs were being well attended thereby solving the said problems expeditiously.
Unfortunately now the office is being held by a junior officer, which results in undue delay in solving the problems. It is requested that a Joint Director General be posted at Srinagar permanently.
The KCCI has felt the need of having Expo Marts for Handicrafts products and Carpets where we can Exhibit our products to International Buyers. “Inland Container Depo in Kashmir will be created which will help our exporters to export directly from Srinagar and increase the products which we are exporting not only but also the volume of present export,” the delegation told the PSCs.