Finance minister Arun Jaitley (right) at a pre-budget meeting with industry and trade groups in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)
New Delhi, June 6: The captains of industry today asked finance minister Arun Jaitley to take steps to make the tax environment conducive and announce bold economic reform measures in the budget to revive investor sentiment and promote growth.
In its first meeting with Jaitley as part of the customary pre-budget interaction, India Inc drew the government’s attention to the retrospective tax amendment carried out by the UPA and said it had adversely impacted investments.
They also stressed the need to boost the manufacturing sector, early implementation of goods and services tax and clear and credible policies to attract investments.
Talking to reporters after the meeting that lasted for over two hours, Jaitley said, “It was a constructive meeting with India Inc. They presented their wish list.”
Seeking tax concessions to revive industry, India Inc urged the government to expedite the rollout of the goods and services tax (GST) and the implementation of the Direct Taxes Code (DTC).
“The government should make efforts to move away from the aggressive revenue approach and provide a genuine non-adversarial and conducive tax environment,” Ficci president Sidharth Birla said.
CII president Ajay Shriram pressed for an amendment of the income tax act that will reverse the retrospective amendment and make all taxation prospective.
“A simple, transparent and non-adversarial tax regime, bereft of complexities and ambiguities, would go a long way to strengthen business sentiment and restore faith of the foreign investor in the India growth story,” Shriram said.
Among others, the meeting was attended by Assocham president Rana Kapoor, Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal, Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Essar Group chairman Shashi Ruia, Suzlon Group chairman Tulsi Tanti, PHD Chamber president Sharad Jaipuria and Videocon Group chief V.N. Dhoot.
A total of 32 industry members had been invited for the meeting along with two special invitees — the commerce secretary and the DIPP secretary.
Rafiq Ahmed, president of FIEO, said they proposed investment-linked incentives without any threshold for medium, small and micro enterprises as the current threshold of Rs 100 crore is only applicable for large companies. Such fiscal incentives are likely to encourage capital infusion in labour intensive sectors, he felt.
The CII also pitched for encouraging PSUs to use cash directly to build capacity, providing MAT relief to developers and units in SEZs and reintroduce Indian Development Finance Corporation for long term financing requirements.
Shriram said to incentivise savings, there is a need to increase disposable incomes of households by raising the basic exemption limit and removing surcharges.