Bizmen seek mega textile investment park, better infra for city

Ludhiana: After being termed as disappointing by middle class and salaried persons, the Union Budget has turned out to be ‘good’ for businessmen despite having nothing significant for them, due to which they seek more reforms. This because their biggest nightmare of imposition of Covid cess or some new kind of tax on them did not turn out to be true.

Besides this, the taxation reforms like reducing the re-opening of income tax assessments to three years from six also proved to be a step in the direction of giving the businessmen some relief. Moreover, several changes in the custom duties are being welcomed by the engineering sector as it will address the problem of incessant hike in the rates of iron and steel being faced by Punjab’s industry. Though there is nothing concrete for the textile and garments sector, but reduction of custom duty on certain products and imposition of duty on cotton is getting mixed response from the businessmen of this sector.

Pankaj M Munjal, chairman and managing director, Hero Motors Company, said, “As expected, the finance minister has ensured that the focus of the Budget has been on inducing a much-needed economic revival in a contracting economy. The commitment to infuse significant spending into building infrastructure projects and strengthening roads, public transport and metro systems augurs well for the automobile sector as well as for the economy at large as it will generate much-needed activity and employment. Taking note of the rising air pollution, the FM has also proposed an outlay of Rs 2,217 crore to help 42 urban centres address the environmental concern, which is a highly welcome move.”

Munjal added that, “However, we hope the measures initiated to utilise these funds to tackle air pollution give due importance to promoting cycling as an environmentally friendly mode of transport. We will like to see the 42 urban centres demarcated for this to lay down dedicated and safe cycling tracks. However, from the manufacturing perspective, we would have liked to see dedicated announcements to help India’s bicycle sector improve its manufacturing capacity and export competitiveness under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative. We will also like to see a greater rationalisation of GST structure and its compliance.”

Raj Kumar Singla, president of the Fasteners Suppliers Association Ludhiana, said, “Even after having nothing for us, this Budget is still very relieving for us because there were strong signals that new taxes or Covid cess will be imposed on the industry to compensate for the huge expenditure incurred by the government in the wake of coronavirus. Besides this, the changes in several laws, particularly with regard to the direct taxes like reducing the time period for re-opening of assessment cases are good steps indeed and should have been taken long back. Doing away with the physical appearances in the tribunals will save a lot of time and money of the businessmen.”

According to Upkar Singh Ahuja, president of Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, “By taking steps aimed at reducing steel raw material prices, like reducing the import duty by 5% on certain steels and waiving import duty on scrap, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has managed to impress thousands of engineering goods manufacturers in Punjab, especially those in the bicycle, auto parts, fasteners, sewing machine and furnace industry, who for the past few months have been feeling the heat of the rising rates. So, barring a few industries, the overall engineering sector will witness correction of rates of raw material, which will definitely lead to the revival of the sector.”

Sanjay Goel, chairman of Indian Institute of Architects (Punjab chapter), said, “We welcome the extended tax holiday on affordable housing and reduction of tax on steel, which may increase construction activity all over. Ludhiana being Manchester of India, must get one mega textile investment park out of seven declared by the central government. The upcoming smart city of Ludhiana needs lots of funding from the central and state governments on big projects. I hope Ludhiana will get good connectivity through roads and railway station of Ludhiana will get modernised, which is long awaited. The city also needs big government hospital like AIIMS as the population already had grown many times and there is only civil hospital.”

Source: The Times Of India, India
Wednesday, 03 February 2021

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