Budget evokes mixed reaction from Uttar Pradesh industry

February 29th, 2008 - 7:41 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

Lucknow, Feb 29 (IANS) The union budget for 2008-09 has evoked mixed reactions from the Uttar Pradesh industry. Many industry leaders expressed their disagreement with the budget over several vital issues, but the proposal to set up “mega clusters” in Varanasi and Moradabad regions drew appreciation. According to Amitabh Nangia, chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Uttar Pradesh, the budget offers no solution to harassment of the tax-payers from tax enforcement authorities.

“The entire approach of the government continues to be to keep the procedures more and more complicated - be it the new income tax return form that has replaced the convenient and simple Saral or other tax procedures,” Nangia told IANS here.

“Keep it complicated appeared to be the primary objective of tax enforcement authorities,” he said.

In his view, the industry’s emphasis has always been on “keeping it simple”.

“The industry could grow much more if procedures are simplified. After all, the entrepreneur’s main objective is to produce excellent quality at competitive price; but for that he needs to be given a more free hand,” he said.

He asked: “Why did the finance minister (P. Chidambaram) with the best of intentions not care to look into the menace created on account of increasingly cumbersome procedures that eat up time, manpower and pocket of the entrepreneur?”

Even the state unit of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) has expressed its dissatisfaction at the indifference of the government towards curbing pilferage of funds allocated to the rural and social sector.

“Everybody expresses concern over the large-scale pilferage of funds in most government-sponsored welfare schemes, considering that the successive finance ministers continued to pump in money, a chunk of which is eaten up at various levels,” Anil Shukla, local PHDCCI secretary said.

“That is why we feel the urgent need for setting up a fool-proof mechanism to ensure that the funds allocated for development actually trickle down to the targeted beneficiary,” he said.

“After all, if the Election Commission can minimise irregularities and pilferage of funds in elections, why can’t an institution be created by the finance ministry to see that its funds are utilised properly?” he asked.

However, Shukla welcomed the finance minister’s proposal to set up “mega clusters” in Varanasi and Moradabad.

“It was for the first time that a budget has made a substantial allocation of Rs.700 million ($17.5 million) towards development of each of the two clusters in the country’s most populous state, and we welcome the giant step,” he told IANS.

“The creation of mega clusters in Varanasi and Moradabad would be a big boost for the carpet and brass industry, for which the two regions were widely known,” he pointed out.

“After all, development of many common facilities would give both industries a big push,” he added.

According to Nangia, “The only silver lining in the otherwise unimpressive budget was the creation of these mega clusters - perhaps this could attract some more investment to these areas.”

However, he said this effort alone was not enough and required much more for a giant state of Uttar Pradesh’s size.

The only other encouragement for the industry in Uttar Pradesh was relaxation in excise duty in auto, pharmaceutical and refrigeration industry, which had witnessed fairly good growth over the recent years in the state.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Business |