Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said that the retrieved encroached land will be utilised for development and welfare of a common man.

Speaking after inaugurating the GST symposium and Tax awareness initiative ‘Kar-Tavya’ for industries, traders association, DDOs and other stakeholders here at the Convention Center, Sinha urged the people to not fall prey to the certain vested interests spreading false information and creating misconceptions around anti-encroachment drives, power generation and property tax.

The GST symposium is being organised by J&K State Taxes Department in collaboration with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

“No poor will be touched during anti encroachment drives but no influential encroacher will be spared. The encroached land retrieved by the government will be utilized for the welfare of common man and schools, colleges, hospitals, sports facilities will be developed on the retrieved land”, said the Lt Governor.

The Lt Governor also shared the facts in detail regarding the imposition of property tax in the UT.

He said, “the property tax in Jammu and Kashmir is the lowest as compared to other states. There are around 5,20,000 houses in cities of J&K. Out of these, 2,06,000 houses are less than 1000 sq ft and no tax is being imposed on them.”

He added that no tax on 40 percent of the people living in cities, in rural and on religious places. 2,03,600 houses are less than 1500 sq ft and 80 percent of these households will have to pay less than Rs 600 per annum.

“This amount is one-tenth of the tax amount being paid in Shimla, Ambala and Dehradun,” the Lt Governor said abd added that 46,000 out of 1,01,000 shops in city areas are less than 100 sq ft and they will have to pay upto Rs 700 per annum. Out of these 46,000 shops, 80 percent will have to pay a meager Rs 600 per annum/ Rs 50 per month. 30,000 shops will have to pay taxes below Rs 2000 per annum and out of these, 20,000 will have to pay less than Rs 1500 which is also one-tenth of the amount being paid in Shimla, Ambala and Dehradun.

“Revenue will directly go to the accounts of municipalities and corporations. This step has been taken to make our cities an engine of growth,” he added.

The Lt Governor also invited suggestions from all sections of the society with regard to better arrangement in property tax, stating, “our doors are open. Everyone must come forward in making J&K a dynamic and developed region of the country.”

The Lt Governor however, said the outreach to help, guide the stakeholders and taxpayers to build synergy and to achieve the prime objective to set J&K on a high growth trajectory.

Systematic approach by the State Taxes Department to simplify the regulatory compliances has led to revenue augmentation and improved ease of doing business for the stakeholders. Such symposium and awareness drive will further stimulate the rate of compliance & productive capacity, added the Lt Governor.

“We are following the Prime Minister’s mantra of Transform, Reform and Perform to build a prosperous and Atmanirbhar J&K. It is the collective responsibility of citizens and business enterprises to unlock potential and drive J&K’s economic growth,” said the Lt Governor.

He said that the reforms and policies focus on protection and empowerment of the common man. Our long-term economic development policies are aimed at reducing inequalities for the welfare of society. Robust growth in business sectors will benefit society as a whole, adding, “it is imperative to ensure that economic growth through stabilization of the tax revenues is ensured at all levels. At the same time it should also be ensured that habit gets inculcated in every business enterprise & consumers to pay taxes with pride.”

“We must achieve the target of 100 percent GST tax coverage. Every taxpayer must come forward and contribute towards nation building,” the Lt Governor further added.

“GST realized the dream of One Nation, One Tax and guaranteed revenue flow to the states. I express my heartfelt gratitude to the business community and citizens of Jammu Kashmir for their cooperation & invaluable contribution in the development of J&K,” the Lt Governor said.

Observing that increased business activities are required for long term economic development and strengthening food security and generating employment opportunities, the Lt Governor highlighted the effective steps taken by the administration for improving Ease of Doing Business, facilitating the expansion of the existing units and setting up of new industries and businesses and extending the benefits of amnesty schemes.

The reason for buoyancy in the revenue is due to several measures taken by the State Taxes Department like establishment of GST Facilitation Centers (GST Suvidha Kendras), District Level Awareness Programmes for the Stakeholders across the UT of J&K, Co-ordination Meetings between Central GST and UT GST authorities etc. The State Taxes Department has adopted a promotional approach rather than a regulatory one and is continuously focusing on capacity building, the Lt Governor noted.

He highlighted the transformation taking place in the industrial sector with the introduction of new Industrial development policy.

“Jammu Kashmir has taken a giant leap in the industrial sector and investments from big companies from India and abroad continues to flow into the UT for industrial activities. Within two years, we have received investment proposals worth Rs 66,000 crores. In the last 6 months, one industrial-business unit has commenced its operation every day,” he said adding that this reflects the true picture of new and aspirational Jammu and Kashmir.

The Lt Governor reiterated, “the government’s commitment to develop more land for industries. Every facility will be extended to 18 industrial estates in the future. I want more people from J&K to set up industries and avail benefit of industrial development scheme.”

Responding to the demand of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India for land for centre of excellence, the Lt Governor announced that the land will be allotted for the said purpose.

The Lt Governor further shared the vision of the UT Government for accelerating growth in various sectors. We are working with an integrated approach for development of all sectors, he added.

The Lt Governor also spoke on efforts of the government to generate employment and livelihood opportunities for the youth.

More than 30000 vacant government posts have been filled in the last three years. And wherever any wrong was found, CBI inquiry has been initiated. The recruitment for another 20,000 posts in administration will be advertised in 3-4 months, the Lt Governor informed.

“We want to saturate self employment in J&K. Youth were identified from every panchayat and town of the UT, and in a single day, 75000 youth were provided more than Rs 939 cr financial assistance. More than 6 lakh women have been connected with NRLM”, he noted.

On the occasion, the Lt Governor unveiled Kar-Tavya periodical and Kar-Tavya booklet and also handed over Letter of Appreciation to organisations and top tax payers of the UT.

Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary; Dr Rashmi Singh, Commissioner Sales Taxes; Ranjit Kumar Agarwal, National VP, Institute of Chartered Accountants India (ICAI) and other senior officers and various stakeholders were present on the occasion.