R. Vimal Kumar

Industrial fraternity terms it `normal'

Tuticorin: The third union budget of the United Progressive Alliance Government, presented by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday, evoked varied response from the people here.

The industrial fraternity termed the budget `normal', as there was no significant change in the tax rates, which were good for economic stability.

"It is indeed good that there was no change in both the personal income tax and corporate income tax rates," D.R. Kodeeswaran, secretary, Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tuticorin, told The Hindu.

However, he opined that the personal income tax ceiling could have been raised a bit, which would have immensely benefited the salaried section of the society.

T Johnson, Managing Director, St John's Freights Systems Limited, said the minister could have given a bit more focus on the industrial growth rather than just concentrating on agriculture alone.

"Industrial buoyancy is essential for the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth," he said, adding " it is unfortunate that the much-debated Fringe Benefit Tax is not withdrawn."

S. Krishnan, Chairman, Tuticorin branch of Southern India Regional Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, said the decision to continue Banking Cash Transaction Tax (BCTT) was a disappointment and 25 per cent increase in Securities Transaction Tax was unwarranted.

He said making the FBT law applicable across the board to PSUs, corporate firms and service sector, without any distinction in size and nature of business, was not pragmatic.

Similarly, the increase in service tax from 10 to 12 per cent will have a cascading effect on the cost of goods and services, even though there is a credit facility under Central Value Added Tax rules, according to him.

The industrialists by and large expressed surprise that when more number of sectors were brought under the purview of Service tax, why the legal and medical services were left out.

"Port ignored"

Mr. Krishnan said the budget made no mention about the outer harbour development of Tuticorin port as well as the proposed move to establish a special economic zone here.

"When there are a number of existing ports, which need to be upgraded, it is indeed surprising that the minister ignored that aspect and went ahead with the idea to identify a new deep draught port in West Bengal," he added.