Patna, Feb. 23: The business fraternity today expressed its dissatisfaction over the budget allocation to the industries department alleging it would have an adverse impact on entrepreneurs and thereby — investment.
Industrialists have requested for an increase in the allocation of the department’s budget to help it dole out incentives and subsidies, especially at a time when entrepreneurs have pumped in money or are mulling to invest in the state. Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who holds the finance portfolio, on Thursday presented a Rs 92,087.93-crore budget for 2013-14.
The industries department’s allocation was reduced to Rs 452.92 crore (in 2013-14) from Rs 472 crore in the current fiscal 2012-13.
Modi, during his interaction with members of Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries (BCCI), assured that money would not be a constraint and the government would increase allocation if the need arose.
“The government should have made at least 30 to 40 per cent more allocation than last year. Investments are being made in the state and the entrepreneurs’ only demand is timely payment of incentives/subsidies. That would be possible only when there is money at the department’s disposal,” said Sanjeev Choudhary, the managing director of steel firm GISCO and also the chairperson of the power sub-committee of BCCI.
Choudhary said non-availability of funds would delay the department in doling out subsidies, which would affect the entrepreneurs’ sentiments.
Echoing Choudhary, BCCI president P.K. Agrawal said the government must increase the allocation.
Modi, in his reply to the members, justified the reduction in allocation, saying the budget announcement was not the last word. “If money is spent on roads and the power sector, it would help the entrepreneurs,” he said.
On the reasons behind the comparatively lesser allocation to the department, Modi said: “The department frames policies, provides incentives and subsidies. It does not set up industries on its own.”
Modi also cited how the agriculture and the energy departments, which got less allocation, got their allotments increased midway in the current fiscal. Agriculture and energy had received Rs 1,200 crore and Rs 4,261 crore respectively, but their shares were increased to Rs 2,270 crore and Rs 5,308 crore respectively.