In the absence of uniformity, industries are playing one State against another to win liberal incentives: Shettar

The southern States, which are competing among themselves to attract investments by offering different types of incentives, will now come together to offer a uniform package for industry. They have agreed to reach “unanimity” on the incentives to be offered, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said, briefing reporters after participating in a meeting of the Southern Zonal Council comprising Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry here on Friday.

Mr. Shinde said there was competition among States in reducing taxes and extending concessions. “Now, they have agreed to work out a formula based on unanimity,” he said referring to Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar’s suggestion to have a common package of industrial incentives in the southern States.

In his address, Mr. Shettar pointed out that competition led to the investor indulging in bargaining for and securing concessions that might affect the State’s finances. “There is no uniformity in such schemes and the industries are playing one State against another to garner liberal incentives far in excess of the investments made by them and the benefits that would accrue to the State on account of such investments.”

Mr. Shettar also suggested that a standing committee, consisting of the Finance Secretaries and Commissioners of Commercial Taxes of the southern States, be constituted to recommend common industrial incentives.

The meeting discussed the problems in inter-State transport, and the States agreed to hold talks in a bid to resolve the issues, Mr. Shinde said.

Another decision was to establish a nodal agency in each State to prevent trafficking in women and children, besides an exclusive court to try such cases.

Mr. Shinde said the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, in consultation with the Home Ministry, was developing a national portal for tracking ‘missing and found’ children. He advised the States to exchange information on human trafficking, and also on Naxalites.

He pointed out information sharing by Andhra Pradesh led to the arrest several Naxalite leaders in Chhattisgarh and Maha rashtra.

Mr. Shettar expressed concern at the menace of Naxalism, which had spread from Karnataka’s border with Andhra Pradesh to the Western Ghat region and now reared its head at the trijunction of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, Puducherry Chief Minister N. Rangaswamy, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam and Power Minister Natham R. Viswanathan and Kerala Minister for Finance and Law K.M. Mani attended the meeting.