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Posted at: Feb 10, 2019, 7:24 AM; last updated: Feb 10, 2019, 10:08 AM (IST)

Carrot for industry, yet stick remains

Entrepreneurs welcome policy on MSME, but upset over no relief in taxes
Carrot for industry, yet stick remains

Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan, February 9

The state Budget seems to be a mixed bag of hope and despair for the industry. Investors have failed to get relief from the state-level levies like Certain Goods Carried by Road Tax (CGCR) and Additional Goods Tax (AGT), while an announcement to formulate a new industrial policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) has been welcomed by entrepreneurs.

“The announcement to launch an app to facilitate online submission of CGCR and AGT is a welcome step as filing returns is a cumbersome process though the demand to do away with these taxes after the introduction of the GST has not found any mention in the Budget which is disappointing,” observed Satish Goyal, Chairman, Himachal Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Paonta Sahib.

“The Budget has made no mention of easing the stringent Section 118 of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act which has disappointed the investors despite several assurances made by the state government in the past one year,” he said.

He said that the Budget also made no mention of undertaking any infrastructure development in the Paonta Sahib area which was among the oldest industrial areas. Even effort to bring rail connectivity has not been reflected in the Budget.

While welcoming the inclusion of Kandrori and Aduwal in the food parks by the Union Ministry of Food Processing, Goyal said more areas should have been included in this Central scheme as the state has immense potential to develop food processing industries.

Notably, since the two taxes involve a revenue receipt of nearly Rs 300 crore, the cash-strapped state government has failed to subsume these state-level levies in the GST.

“Development of key industrial clusters like BBN need dedicated budget and upgrade of the roads through an ongoing World Bank-aided project is a welcome step. The proposal to chalk out a new MSME industrial policy is a major requirement which will rejuvenate the industry and enhance employment opportunities for the youth,” opined IMJS Sidhu, Chairman, Himachal Chapter of the CII.

A section of investors also opined that the new industrial policy should be chalked out before the proposed global meets to make optimum gains.

“Development of new industrial areas at Channour in Kangra, Gehrwin in Bilaspur and Basouli Bangarh in Una districts are laudable steps as they will make available industrial plots to the prospective investors without the hassles of the stringent Section 118 of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act,” opined Sanjay Khurana, senior vice-president, Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh Industries Association.


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