Minister for Finance, Dr Haseeb Drabu today called for proactive engagement of major corporate houses from across the country with Jammu and Kashmir to channelize substantive investment to the State.“There is tremendous scope for investment in potential sectors of strength like energy, horticulture, handloom and handicrafts, biotechnology, food processing, tourism, information technology, education, skill development and sports in J&K which have strong inter-linkages with the other sectors,” Dr Drabu said while addressing the 90th Annual General Meeting of Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here this morning.He said J&K also has potential for becoming a Special Educational Zone for foreign universities and Special Economic Zone for exquisite Handicrafts and Sports Goods besides attracting investment for setting up a Dry Port and Cold Chain.“I would request you to start engaging with J&K and its people, to help us put the State on a faster path of development and growth,” Dr Drabu told the business tycoons from India Inc present at the meeting.He said FICCI can help in tourism promotion in the State by organizing various high-profile events and also facilitate building physical and digital connectivity and market linkages. “Given its network, FICCI can also help the state to strategize connectivity and infrastructure development for creation of wealth in the areas of social, economic and ecological enterprises in J&K,” he said.
Dr Drabu said given its geographical location, Jammu and Kashmir could become a hub for forging a new economic linkage in the region between the South and the Central Asia. “There is a convergence of views on varied issues and interests between the Central Asian Republics and India, including promoting economic, scientific and cultural cooperation in the region,” Dr Drabu said adding that given its historic links with Central Asia, J&K can become a surface transport passage for reviving traditional economic linkages in the region.Referring to implementation of GST, Dr Drabu said there may be operational and technical issues involved in the implementation of the new tax regime, but it has federalized the Indian economy and has transformed the business ethics in the country.He called for doing away with the MRP (maximum retail price) under the GST regime.“MRP is from a pre-liberalized era. We need to now abolish MRP as it has become redundant under GST regime,” Dr Drabu said.He also suggested that composition scheme for small businesses with an annual turnover of up to Rs 1 crore should be tweaked to allow some input tax credit. “Larger companies are not buying from small businesses due to lack of input tax credit,” he noted.He also called for bringing back the reverse charge mechanism under GST that has been deferred till March.Pertinently, besides Dr Haseeb Drabu, the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Sushil Modi, Finance Minister of West Bengal, Dr Amit Mitra and Finance Minister of Kerala Dr T M Thomas Isaac were specially invited to address the 2-day Annual General Meeting of FICCI which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi here yesterday.President FICCI, Rahesh C Shah and FICCI General Secretary, Dr Sanjay Baru also addressed the session.