Farm sector incentives hailed
Focus on coir, handloom sector laudedCut in import duty on edible oil criticised
KOZHIKODE: The Union Budget evoked a mixed response from the trade and industry circles here.
The Malabar Chamber of Commerce (MCC) and the Calicut Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) while lauding certain measures in the budget expressed reservations on the other proposals incorporated by the Finance Minister.
The MCC lauded the budget on the ground that new incentives and larger allocation provided for the farm sector would give a fillip to agriculture, besides creating more employment opportunities, leading to self-reliance of the country.
P. Sakeer, MCC president, said the Finance Minister through various measures sought to provide a faster pace to the increased productivity being experienced in the country for the last few years. As far as Kerala was concerned, the added focus on the coir sector, incentives for improving technology in the handloom sector and higher allocation for the cultivation of tea, coffee, rubber and coconut were welcome measures.
The MCC flayed the reduction in the import levy on coconut oil and said the measure would have an adverse impact on coconut farmers in the State.
The move to decrease duty on low-priced cement and increasing on high priced commodity was lauded by both the Chambers on the ground that it would give a fillip to the construction sector.
Lauding the move to increase the service tax limit to Rs.8 lakh from Rs.4 lakh, the MCC criticised the step to include more services under the tax net, and the hike in the tax levied on resident welfare associations. The CCCI welcomed the decrease in excise duty on petrol and diesel to six per cent and the allocation for modernising the coir industry. It expressed optimism that the cut in petrol/ diesel excise duty would bring down the prices.
It expressed the view that the budget was disappointing as far as Kerala was concerned. P.T.S. Unni, honorary secretary, CCCI, said the budget did not provide the desired focus to trade and industry.