Karra to GOI: Include Srinagar in list of 100 smart cities

‘GST regime will affect JK’s industry’

Senior Peoples Democratic Party leader and Member Parliament, Tariq Hamid Karra, Thursday urged the Government of India to include Srinagar in the list of 100 smart cities to be developed with a corpus funding of Rs 7060 crore earmarked in the budget. 
“This will not only promote tourism in Kashmir but also give a fillip to the infrastructure which is otherwise crumbling because of lack of proper planning and population growth,” he said, participating in the discussion on the Union Budget in the LokSabha.
Srinagar, Karra said, should be also included in the list of cities for Metro projects as traffic congestion and road rage has become a major threat to life in the J&K’s summer capital. Similarly, he said, from the Warehouse Infrastructure Fund which will get Rs 5000 crore this year, Rs 500 crore should be earmarked for J&K to facilitate horticulture funding in the State.
“J&K should also get its due share in Rs 37800 crore allotted for National Highways, development of new airports at tier II and III cities through the PPP mode; Rs 100 crore for development of archaeological sites; proposal for setting up Industrial Smart Cities; Textile Park for J&K; National Rural Internet and Technology Mission for services in villages and schools; training in IT skills proposed and Rs 2142 crore watershed development project,” he demanded.
The PDP MP cautioned against any hasty decision on the imposition of General Sales Tax (GST) regime, asserting that the Government of India must ensure that the special taxation powers of the states like Jammu and Kashmir don’t get compromised under the new taxation framework.
“J&K is bound to lose most heavily, both financially and politically, by the imposition of GST regime,” Karra told the LokSabha.
He said if the GST regime is implemented in J&K in its present form, neither the state legislature nor the state cabinet will have an unfettered say on taxation.
“To add insult to injury, the union Finance Minister can, as per the proposed framework, shoot down any proposal coming from the state on tax rates and goods to be left out of GST. It would be an irreparable loss for JK which is the only state that has the power to tax services,” Karra said and added that by virtue of its Sales Tax Act, J&K has the power to tax both goods and services and any move  to “surrender it under GST regime would tantamount to compromising the State’s fiscal autonomy.”
He said under the GST regime the State government can’t even offer tax rebates to industry and other enterprises on its own which would deal a blow to the budding industry in J&K.
Reiterating the party’s demand for setting up an IIM and AIIMS in Srinagar, Karra said J&K should be included in various flagship initiatives announced by the Government of India in the Budget 2014-15.
“To cope up with the burgeoning unemployment problem in the State, Rs 1000 crore should be provided to JK out of the Rs 10,000 crore corpus of venture capital fund,” he said. “This money would be used for providing equity through venture capital funds, quasi equity, soft loans and other risk capital to encourage new startups by youth.”

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