Describing the Union budget as growth-oriented and industry-friendly, the Confederation of Indian Industry – Southern Region (CII-SR) gave 8.5 out of 10 points to Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday. Corporate representatives heaved a sigh of relief as the surcharge on domestic companies was reduced from 7.5 to 5 per cent, while central excise, customs duty and service tax were maintained at the same level and the increase in Minimum Alternate Tax was just 0.5 per cent.

Participating in the discussion on Union Budget 2011-2012, organised by the CII-SR, its Deputy Chairman, T.T. Ashok said, “We are reasonably satisfied as the most of the points suggested by us in the pre-budget memorandum have been covered. Inflation is a big cause of worry and the Finance Minister is aware of it and knows what is to be done. CII is happy as there is no rollback of excise or customs duty.”

Pradipta K. Mohaptra, CII-SR past chairman, commended the Finance Minister for identifying, aligning and allotting money for agricultural production and for doubling the wages of anganwadi workers, but said he was disappointed that the budget was silent on allowing foreign direct investment in the retail sector. CII-TN chairperson Nandini Rangaswamy welcomed the vocationalisation of secondary education to improve the employability of youth and said providing scholarship to SC/ST students for 9th and 10{+t}{+h} standard was a great incentive to continue higher studies.

Manikam Ramaswami, CII-SR past chairman, said, “Doubling of salaries for anganwadi workers is also welcome. Whenever there was an increase in income for MGNREGS, it resulted in pushing up textile demand.”

Arun Jain, Chairman and CEO, Polaris Software, said it was disappointing to note that there was no mention of the IT sector in the budget, though information technology was the backbone for several initiatives. He also called for extending the deadline of STPI, which ends on March 11. S. Srinivasaraghavan, CFO and Company Secretary, Simpson & Co Ltd, said the budget would not have a major impact on the engineering sector, the issue of inflation was not addressed properly and there was vagueness on the introduction of Goods and Services Tax.

R. Dinesh, Joint Managing Director, T.V. Sundaram Iyengar and Sons Ltd, said it was a welcome move by the Centre to lay emphasis on development of hybrid vehicles, as it would attract major players to look into India instead of Thailand.

Ramesh Kymal, Chairman and Managing Director, Gamesa Wind Turbines Pvt Ltd., was disappointed as renewable energy was not given the subsidy just like coal and oil to ensure level-playing field and to sustain growth.

K. Vaitheeswaran, Chairman, Working group on GST, CII-Tamil Nadu, said it was not clear how the Finance Minister is going to raise the resources.

Chitty Babu, president, Confederation of Real Estate Development Authority of India (Tamil Nadu), said the budget failed to address issues such as shortage of 24 million houses, Special Economic Zones and Special Residential Zone.

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