The Union Budget 2019, announced on February 1, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls has upset industrialists, traders and farmers from Jammu and Kashmir.
Many are calling the budget an “eye wash,” as they believe that the Modi-led government has failed Jammu and Kashmir, as there was nothing “state-specific” in the Budget.
Also, the Budget that was supposed to be a Vote on Account (interim budget) – making declarations that only the next government can fulfil. However, the budget that was presented was a full-fledged budget for the year 2019-20.
Speaking to Newsclick, Sheikh Ashiq, president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry said, “For us, a successful budget means that it is good for the business industry. There was nothing specific about Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir has a geographical disadvantage, so we were expecting that there will be something for us. We had sent a recommendation to the GST Council, but to no avail. Since the GST has been implemented, the handicraft business is suffering losses.” The implementation of the GST has badly affected the Kashmiri handicraft sector, in turn affecting the sellers of Pashmina shawls and Kashmiri carpets.
“After the implementation of GST, the Kashmiri handicraft have become more expensive for the customers with the 12 per cent of GST. I am lagging much behind my previous year’s profit. I have a family to feed and we are unable to make money, as people are reluctant to buy,” said a local handicraft shopkeeper. “We have been asking for exemption from the GST or at least a lower tax slab for the handicrafts, but no luck. The Budget has nothing to give to us. Our core problems have not been addressed,” said Ashiq.
Speaking to Newsclick, National President, Kisan Welfare Organisation, Rohit Chaudhary said, “The Union Budget had nothing to offer to the farmers from border areas. There should have been a special package for the farmers in Jammu, as they suffer the geographical disadvantage. Since 2014, the shelling has escalated in the border areas. Because of shelling, the farmers are unable to grow crops. The Modi government’s budget has failed farmers, in general. Only Rs 6,000 per annum for farmers who are committing suicide and dying? It’s a misleading budget.”
In Jammu, mostly, the Indo-Pak border areas are populated with farmers. Besides the general distress, these farmers also suffer because of the untimely shelling after which they have to stay indoors for days on end.
Mohammad Yaseen Khan of Kashmir Economic Alliance too has termed the Union Budget as “political budget to lure voters as it has nothing to offer to the business community”.
Calling the Union Budget as the “mockery of poor people,” Rakesh Gupta, president of Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry said, “We were looking for some special package for industrialists and traders, who have been ignored both by the centre and the state.”
Also read: #AakhriJumla: Interim Union Budget 2019 Ripped Apart on Twitter