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Proposals practical: Industry

- Absence of big announcement keeps enthusiasm in check

Guwahati, Aug. 11: The industry today said the proposals in the Assam budget were “practical” but with no “big ticket” announcement for the sector.

“This year’s budget is practical but has no mega announcements. A longstanding demand for creating an industrial land bank for development of industrial clusters has been addressed. However, it does not speak much about creating infrastructure for boosting industrialisation in the state,” said Abhijit Barooah, co-chairman (Northeast), Confederation of Indian Industry.

“The power sector is one area that needs more focus which is lacking in the budget,” Barooah said.

The proposal for the chief minister’s rural economy development scheme this year, the industry body feels, will help boost the rural economy,” Barooah said.

The CII further welcomed the proposal to provide special state capital investment subsidy for women SC/ST entrepreneurs. “Besides, the supply of raw material grant for bell metal artisans and promotion of handicraft will benefit the small enterprises,” Barooah said.

The Federation of Industry and Commerce of North Eastern Region (Finer) — the apex industry association of the Northeast — said it was a routine, play-it-safe budget but with no mention of any “big tickets”.

“We thank the chief minister for acceding to our request to drastically rationalise tax rates and exempt renewal energy devices and spare parts from value-added tax. But he has only partially addressed the issue of entry tax,” Finer chairman R.S. Joshi said.

“Some of the measures like steep increase in the rate of VAT on motor parts and accessories may lead to diversion of trade though,” Joshi said.

Ranjit Barthakur, chairman, Ficci Northeast Advisory Council, said “We had proposed economic integration centres along the highways and we are happy to note the emphasis on creation of smaller industrial pockets across the state. But we are a little disappointed that there is no major policy thrust towards creation of infrastructure and connectivity,” Barthakur said.

The tea industry, for its part, said the budget proposals are satisfactory. “It is satisfactory that the government has looked into our requests though we wanted reduced taxation on tea exported from the Inland Container Depot at Amingaon for three more years,” a senior official of the Assam branch of the Indian Tea Association said.