Industry bodies in Kerala on Friday termed as “positive” the first budget of LDF government in Kerala for 2016-17 presented by Finance Minister Thomas Issac in the Assembly.
While members of the Confederation of Indian Industry in Kerala complimented the minister and the government for coming up with a “positive budget for business and industry”, Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the Budget is very vocal on social development initiatives.
They, however, said the finance minister should review the decision to retain check-posts even after Goods and Services Tax (GST) is place, since they are considered to be one of the biggest bottlenecks in movement of goods.
“The announcement of a Kochi-Coimbatore hi-tech corridor is a welcome initiative that promises significant long-term benefits for business and industry as also employment opportunities in Central Kerala. The renewed emphasis placed by the budget on the tourism sector is highly appreciable,” CII-Kerala said in a release here.
The Chamber said “although we welcome the announcement that all checkposts in the state will be modernised within three years and that the software of the Commercial Taxes Department will be updated completely, we have to strongly oppose the Finance Minister’s decision that the checkposts in Kerala will continue even after the GST is enforced.”
The Chamber also took some reservations against some budgetary proposals including green tax on old vehicles and measures to increase tax revenues by 25 per cent.
“We feel that this budget for all its positives is further burdening an already beleaguered public with more and more taxes to bridge the deficit gap. We would have expected the government to set out means to curb wasteful and unnecessary expenditure rather than trying to increase taxes across the board,” the Chamber said.
“The Green tax on old vehicles, the 10 per cent increase in tax of goods transport vehicles which will result in higher commodity prices, the proposed increase in vehicle tax, the increased tax on coconut oil, tax of wheat products in packets etc. Any increase in the taxes will in turn increase the cost of living and directly affect the common man,” it said.
Meanwhile, Baju George, Interim CEO, SmartCity Kochi, said the budget proposal will give boost to IT sector.
“The proposal to allot Rs 1,325 crore for the development of IT Parks is a welcome decision. The budget proposal to attract investment to the tune of Rs 1 lakh crore in 2 years is a testimony to the development agenda of the government.”
“The allocation of Rs 5,000 crore for infrastructure development, especially roads and bridges and the development of parallel transport system like inland waterways, will enhance the investment climate,” he said.