Srinagar- Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday inaugurated ‘The Chinars’, Aayakar Bhawan-cum-residential complex, the first permanent establishment of the department of income tax in the UT, at the Rajbagh area here in the presence of J-K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
The Secretary (Revenue) Tarun Bajaj, Chairman CBDT J. B. Mohapatra and Chairman CBIC M. Ajit Kumar were also present on the occasion.
In her keynote address on the occasion, FM Nirmala Sitharaman thanked the people of Jammu & Kashmir for their contribution to the efforts in enabling the commissioning of ‘The Chinars’ Aayakar Bhawan and the attached facilities.
Dedicating the project to the people of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, she said that the Income Tax office at Srinagar will act as a bridge to connect the people of the region to the best taxpayer services and also help them in their taxation issues through the Aaykar Sewa Kendra.
She also observed that it will provide an enabling environment for the “bhagidari” i.e. people’s participation in the development of the region.
In his address, Manoj Sinha, LG of J&K UT, highlighted the importance of taxpayers in the economic development of the country and said that the Income Tax department is becoming seamless from the stage of filing return to the issuance of refund.
He observed that the success of the taxpayers will lead to greater economic development of UT of J&K. He also appealed to the taxpayers to honestly pay their taxes.
Tarun Bajaj, Revenue Secretary to the Government of India in his address emphasised the increasing contribution of the UT of J&K to the exchequer, reflected in the upgradation of the Income Tax charge at Srinagar to the level of Principal Commissioner of Income Tax at Srinagar.
He also said that the newly inaugurated Income Tax office will serve as a platform for providing information, knowledge, guidance and ease to the taxpayers, enabling them to reap the benefits of increased economic activity.
J.B. Mohapatra, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes said that opening a new office in Srinagar will prioritise taxpayer services at the door-step of the people of UT of J&K.
The 3.5 acres campus, adjoining the silk factory on the banks of River Jhelum, was acquired in 2008 at the cost of Rs 13.50 crores. The project was started in November 2015 by NBCC and was completed in July 2020. The total expenditure made till date is Rs 27.78 crore.
Following the inauguration of the building, the dignitaries planted saplings in the newly inaugurated premises to mark the event. Thereafter the FM proceeded for an interaction with the tax administrators and stakeholders of J&K at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) Srinagar later in the day.
In her interaction with tax administrators and stakeholders at SKICC, she urged the officers of both CBDT & CBIC to be agents of change and reach out to the industry and business individuals to ascertain their expectations from the Government. While emphasising that officers of both CBDT & CBIC should work collectively, FM also stressed upon the importance of their role as facilitators & educators, making themselves more accessible to the taxpayers of the region to provide better taxpayer services.
Interacts With Female Entrepreneurs
Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman along with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today held interactions with a number of women entrepreneurs of Jammu and Kashmir at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre.
The interaction programme included over 60 women entrepreneurs from J&K working in a variety of sectors, including beekeeping, dairy, handicraft, journalism, copper works, and furniture manufacturing, among others. The event featured success stories of women entrepreneurs from across J&K who have been benefited under different schemes initiated by the J&K administration.
The Union Finance Minister lauded the efforts of LG administration for creating a successful women Entrepreneurship culture in J&K which is unique among the country. She said it is encouraging to see that the women entrepreneurs here are in such fields which were not taken by many and were usually male dominated.
During the interaction, the Union Finance Minister listened to the inspiring stories of women entrepreneurs in J&K and how they rose above the challenges to benefit their society at the grassroots level. “The land of Kashmir is the land of Maa Sharada and that absolute power-packed knowledge-driven energy is what has come out here. I appeal to you to move around the country and share your stories”, she remarked.
She also encouraged the women entrepreneurs and the Mission Director, RLM to prepare a detailed plan, after threadbare consultations, on how they could be facilitated in a much better way. She said the action plan can further be incorporated in the next budget.
On the occasion, LG Sinha highlighted the key initiatives initiated by the administration for supporting women entrepreneurs under different schemes, commensurate with their educational background and experience.
Sinha observed that the culture and tradition of our country considers women to be a form of power and in J&K, we have ensured that women rise as a beacon of enlightenment and become vital drivers in the developmental journey of J&K.
“It has always been my firm belief that the contribution of women in economic activities is by no means less and there will be many examples where their contribution is much more than that of men,” he asserted.
Sinha noted that the administration is empowering women entrepreneurs through a slew of focused programs such as ‘UMEED’, ‘SAATH’ and ‘HAUSLA’. Through these programs a new confidence, a new spirit is being created by making them more capable so that half of the population can play their constructive role in the journey of J&K’s progress, he said.
“Today, 54,325 Self-Help Groups have been formed under the UMEED program to empower women in rural areas to become financially independent and more than 4.5 lakh women have been associated with it. I am very happy that financial assistance of about rupees 1000 Crores has been provided to the women entrepreneurs of UMEED Self Help Group, which will strengthen their business”, the Lt Governor observed.
He further stated that keeping in mind the success of the UMEED program, this year we have set a target of connecting One lakh additional rural women to this program. Along with this, J&K Livelihood Mission has launched ‘SAATH’ initiative, under which a training programme has also been started to select 500 women entrepreneurs from rural areas to expand their business.