Various chambers of commerce and industry have reacted to the State Budget 2012-13.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Kerala, hailed the Budget as purposeful and meaningful.
Focus on farm sector
A statement issued by the confederation said the Budget reflected the government's focus on enhancing infrastructure and modernising the agriculture sector.
It was heartening to note that specific infrastructure projects had been identified and funds provided for them. They included the Kochi Metro, Vizhinjam port, monorail projects, Vallarpadam project, Cyber Park in Kozhikode, and industrial park at Brahmapuram, the CII said.
The move to set up high-tech bio parks, green house farming facilities, rice bio park, and coconut bio park demonstrated the government's intention to transform the farm sector.
“One of the most welcome announcements pertains to the promotion of basic infrastructure,” a statement from C.J. George, vice-chairman, CII Kerala, said. However, the amount of Rs.300 crore set aside for land acquisition was not enough in the Kerala context, he said.
The Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the Budget proposals regarding trade, commerce, and industry.
A statement issued by P.L. Prakash James, president of the chamber, said the idea of skill development and development of container freight stations would increase job opportunities for the youth.
The proposal to introduce passenger boat service between Fort Kochi and Alappuzha was a long-awaited one.
The tax on essential food commodities had been brought down to 1 per cent, and the exemption of social security cess would bring down prices of everyday consumer products. However, the increase in value-added tax from 4 per cent to 5 per cent and from 12.5 per cent to 13.5 per cent would burden the common man.
Controlling fiscal deficit
K.N. Marzook, president of the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in a statement that the money provided for development of various sectors was not enough though the general tone of the Budget pointed to a desire for rapid growth.
He said Mr. Mani had made genuine efforts to reduce fiscal deficit, and had focussed on areas such as agriculture, tourism, information technology, and education and research.
The Kerala Merchants Union welcomed the provisions for Kochi Metro, Vyttila mobility hub, and development of the Seaport-Airport road.
A statement issued by union general secretary Shaji K.A said the increase in VAT by 1 per cent could have been avoided. The decision to get rid of ‘nokkukooli' in the State was welcome.