Only businessmen doing ‘Jihad’ in Kashmir: Haseeb Drabu

Acknowledging that economic scenario in Kashmir is “distressing”, the finance minister Haseeb Drabu said on Sunday that businessmen in Kashmir are “the only ones doing ‘jihad’ as they are fighting against all odds.” Speaking at the first business conclave held here, he said: “I have being stating this that businessmen in Kashmir are the only ones doing ‘jihad’ as they are fighting with the government for getting basic services; they fight against the situation. I have nothing but respect, admiration for anybody who is even investing Rs 100 in his business.”
On business community’s demand of restructuring of loans, Drabu said that the government itself has debt of Rs 82,000 crore. “In the last three years, Rs 17,000 crore has squared and state’s debt is Rs 82,000 crore. But despite this situation, there should not be hopelessness.”
He said that the business community needs to come together for common mitigation of issues.
“We have more business organisations and associations, even 10 members coming together form an association. I have been advocating that they should come together. Even as chairman of J&K bank I have been asking traders to come together.”
Regarding traders’ demand of restructuring of their loans, the finance minister said: “The moratorium period is ending on 31st December. The RBI won’t allow us to go for further restructuring and I also suggest that it should not be done. (But) I will sit with you (business community) and try to find out solutions.”
He said that the business community is in distress. “I have not seen such kind of distress in my entire career. Even during ‘90s, there was not so much of distress among the business community.”
Drabu said that burdening J&K bank by extending the moratorium period will further affect its fiscal health. “When I left J&K bank as chairman, it had zero percent non-performing assets, but now it has risen up to nine percent which is a cause of concern,” he said. On Goods and Services Tax, he said all the promises made the government have been fulfilled. “Now the issue of carpet industry needs to be looked after,” he said.
On incentives, he said that J&K is the only state which has announced basic incentives post-implementation of the GST. He said the government has given Rs 20000 crore incentives to the industry in past 20 years. “But the hotel sector needs some incentives,” he said.