Jammu and Kashmir government, on Thursday, rolled back the 9.5 per cent hike in the levies on mobile phones, ready-made garments and hosiery items following criticism from opposition members and trade bodies.
“Given the demands of the House, the VAT on ready-made garments, hosiery and cell phones, which was increased from 5 percent to 14.5 percent, will be rolled back,” said Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu while replying to discussion on Budget in Legislative Assembly in Srinagar.
The hike in levies, besides some other budget proposals, had attracted the ire of trade bodies in Kashmir and Jammu regions and they had called for a strike on June 4 to protest against these.
Drabu also announced that helicopter services in the state would be exempt from 5 per cent hike in the levy on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF).
He said the tax on ATF was reduced last year from the national average of 25 percent to 20 percent.
“We had hoped it will have a positive impact on tourism because of cheaper fuel. But it didn’t happen. However, given the demands of the members of this House, I am rolling back the proposal of 5 percent hike in tax on ATF for helicopters,” the Finance Minister said.
The tax on fuel for helicopters engaged in pilgrim tourism will be kept at the previous 20 percent, he added.