Indian Industry on Monday hailed Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for presenting a forward-looking budget keeping the greater interest of economic growth.

FICCI president Rajan Bharti Mittal said that it was a balanced effort to maintain growth momentum at a time when the global economy still appeared fragile. Expressing happiness that Mr. Mukherjee avoided raising excise duties as was widely feared, Mr. Mittal said the Finance Minister was banking on the economy going well and was hoping that the overall higher growth would yield the necessary revenue.

While describing as positive steps the disinvestment target of Rs. 40,000 crore and development of mega clusters for labour intensive industries like leather and possibility off further liberalisation of FDI policy, Mr. Mittal said that the Finance Minister should have abolished surcharge on corporate tax and education cess and reduced the corporate tax to 25 per cent and MAT to 15 per cent.

CII president Hari Bhartia described the budget as positive and growth-oriented, addressing some of the structural constraints in sustaining growth in the medium-term and for not taking last year's growth for granted. He expected the targeted subsidy on kerosene and food would reduce the wastage of subsidy.

While praising measures to increase investment in the infrastructure and agricultural sectors, Mr. Bhartia felt that the Finance Minister should have given a greater push to the health sector.

PHD Chamber president Salil Bhandari appreciated efforts at improving supply chain in agriculture and achieving stronger fiscal consolidation.

Mr. Bhandari however said enough steps were not taken to undo the current decline in FDI inflows and to address the recent decrease in growth in the manufacturing sector. He said that inflation had been ignored.

ICCI secretary general R.P.Swami said that a strategic focus on infrastructure, industry and states had been carefully announced besides creating a favourable environment for the corporate sector.

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