//Kerala chambers 'disappointed' at state's neglect in Budget

Kerala chambers 'disappointed' at state's neglect in Budget

Kochi | February 28, 2006 8:41:40 PM IST
While welcoming the Budget proposals for 2006-07 as ”growth-oriented,” chambers of commerce in Kerala today regretted that not much consideration had been given to the state.

Mr John K Paul, president, Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), said the emphasis on infrastructure, rural development and education would boost the industrial development.

While the allocation of Rs 830 crore for the tourism sector was welcome, it was disappointing that none of the four new Hotel Management Institutes is to be located in Kerala, a front-runner in tourism development, he said.

He also termed as disappointing that the Service Tax net had been widened and the rate enhanced. However, he welcomed the proposal to include LPG for domestic use in the Declared Goods List and the allocation of special assistance to the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram.

Mr M K Koshy, chairman, CII, Kerala state council, said the allocation of Rs 100 crore for the tea sector would give some relief to the ailing tea plantations in the state.

However, former chairman, CII, Kerala, S Sankaran felt that the allocation of Rs 100 crore for the tea plantation sector was too little and opined that at least Rs 1,000 crore was needed to revive the plantations, which were facing a lot of problems.

Mr N Sreekumar, president, Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, felt that while the factors were favourable for radical reforms, the Finance Minister had chosen to play it safe.

Apart from raising the status of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Biotechnology to national institute level and Koodiyattom to be recognised as national folklore, there was nothing much to cheer for the state of Kerala, he added.

Mr Umang Patodia, Managing Director, Patspin India Ltd., however said the recommendations on the leather footwear, food processing, plastics and textiles sectors would benefit the units working in these areas in Kerala.

Mr Balagopala B Pai, president, Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said cash crop items like rubber, pepper and cardamom also needed assistance for re-plantation in Kerala. He also described the increase in the service tax to 12 per cent as a ”harsh decision” and against public sentiment.

Malabar Chamber of Commerce, in a press release in Kozhikode, said the hike service tax from ten per cent to 12 per cent and the substantial hike proposed in service sector aimed at generating more income would affect the commonman.

However, it welcomed the decision to bring LPG under sales tax net, slashing of fringe benefits on many items to five per cent and waiving of submission of income tx return under 1/6 scheme and the proposal which gave special attention to health and education sectors.

Calicut Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the trade and industry would, by and large, be benefitted as the budget proposed no direct taxes besides laying special emphasis on enhancing food production in the country.