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In Singur season, spares score

Calcutta, March 16: Vendors planning to set up shop in the Tata Motors complex in Singur have reason to celebrate.

The Bengal budget tabled at the Assembly today has announced tax breaks for auto ancillary units in the state.

Finance minister Asim Dasgupta brought down the tax on spare parts of motor vehicles from 12.5 per cent to 4 per cent.

This will benefit a number of auto ancillary companies that are expected to take up space at the vendor park in the Singur complex.

The cut will also help Hindustan Motors, which is setting up an auto component park at Uttarpara.

The finance minister, however, did not single out the auto component unit but took special note of the revival of the manufacturing industry in the state as a whole.

Dasgupta proposed that any commodity used as an industrial input would now attract 4 per cent duty, compared to the current 12.5 per cent.

Notable among these are industrial LPG, used as fuel by small and medium industries, and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) that Mitsubishi manufactures at Haldia for the plastics industry.

The cut brought cheer to an otherwise demoralised business segment worried over the violence in Nandigram.

“This is certainly a good news. The lower rate of tax will make Bengal an attractive destination for setting up industry,” Biswadip Gupta, the vice-chairman of CII (eastern region), said.

Dasgupta said industry would add 4.5 lakh new jobs this year, while agriculture may add over 3 lakh jobs.

Despite the stress on industry, the finance minister raised the outlay for agriculture and horticulture by Rs 34 crore to Rs 93 crore. Last year, the outlay had gone up by Rs 12 crore.

The finance minister said the tax sops (exemption from education and rural employment cess) on the ailing tea industry would continue for another two year.

The formation of a settlement commission and a number of tax simplification measures proposed by the finance minister are expected to help the government increase revenue collection.

Dasgupta told The Telegraph that he was expecting a revenue collection of over Rs 30 crore through the “one-time settlement” scheme for disputed and pending sales tax cases.

Originally introduced in 1999-2000, the scheme will be extended up to June 30, 2007. Disputes can be settled by paying 46 per cent of the contentious tax and five per cent of the interest and penalty.

A drug corporation will be set up by the state government to procure quality medicines and also encourage the industry in the state.

Infotech fund

The minister has proposed an additional amount of Rs 15 crore as venture capital fund for information technology. Another Rs 5 crore will be set aside for training.

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