The Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday evoked mixed reactions from the representatives of the industry here, but one point that everyone noted was that there was no announcement or scheme that was of specific relevance to Tamil Nadu.
The Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry described it as a “taxing budget” at a time when the industry and public were suffering owing to recession and inflation. They also said it was also disappointing to note that the Direct Taxes Code (DTC), Goods and Services Tax (GST) and other such reforms had been deferred again.
Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Jawahar Vadivelu said the need of the hour was to bring about fiscal consolidation and spell out clear roadmap towards the implementation of tax reforms such as DTC and GST.
Speaking at a meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), TVS Motor Company Chairman and Managing Director Venu Srinivasan said it is a pragmatic and realistic budget. But the lack of emphasis on exports to make the manufacturing sector competitive and create additional jobs is a concern. There is also no clear direction with regard to the National Manufacturing Policy. Borrowings of the government will also crowd out the private sector's access to funds”.
T.T. Ashok, chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry-Southern Region said, “The Centre has given priority for infrastructure development. On the whole, we feel that lot more could have been done for the manufacturing sector. CII would work on genuine concerns of GST and see how it can be redressed.”
He also said the industry had been pushing for a National Manufacturing and Investment Zone especially for solar and hardware cities in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu. Availability of more funding for skill development activities would really help Tamil Nadu.
R. Dinesh, chairman, CII-Tamil Nadu State Council, said the budget would benefit three sectors in the State, namely, alternate energy, National Skill Development and the services sector. The budget on the whole would benefit the manufacturing and services sector as Tamil Nadu was home to these sectors.
N.K. Ranganath, former chairman of CII-TNSC said, “Allocation of Rs.1,000 crore for skill development under National Skill Development Fund will benefit Tamil Nadu as it accords importance to skill development. As far as solar energy policy is concerned, we are better placed than other states. .”
“The Union Budget has been a disappointment for the wind energy sector at a time when wind is generating a sizable share of five per cent of electricity at the All India level. Even after our representations to the Union Planning Commission and the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, we did not see any priority sector lending and reduction in the interest rates making the wind energy projects unviable with the present tariff rates. ” said Ramesh Kymal, Chairman and Managing Director, Gamesa Wind Turbines.
M. Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, Council for Leather Exports, welcomed the extension of the Service Tax exemption with retrospective effect for setting up Common Effluent Treatment Plants as it would help in effectively implementing environment management programme in the leather industry.
Tamil Chamber of Commerce president Chozha Naachiar Rajasekar said the increase of Central Excise and service tax by two per cent after widening the service tax would directly and indirectly led to price rise and would affect the common man.
Micro and Small Scale Industries entrepreneurs have expressed disappointment over the Union Budget as a raise in standard excise duty and service tax from 10 per cent to 12 per cent would not help their cause, said National Confederation of Small Industry president K.V. Kanakambaram.
Chennai District Small Scale Industries Associations president T.V. Hariharan expressed happiness that the Centre reduced the loan interest rate up to seven per cent for self-help groups and three per cent for the prompt payer.