The union budget presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament on Thursday received a mixed response from the sports goods manufacturing, hand tool and leather industries in Jalandhar.
The industry regretted that Punjab was not sanctioned any industrial smart city, new industrial cluster or a bio-tech cluster whereas no specific deadline has been laid for implementation of goods and services tax (GST).
"The budget fails to get even a single thing for our industry. We were expecting increase in the exemption in central excise duty which is presently at 1.5 crore. More importantly, since 75% of the hand tool manufacturing material from Jalandhar is exported to other countries, we have to reach ports which are situated at least at 2,000 kilometres from the city. Our demand for freight subsidy has also been ignored in the budget," said Gursharan Singh, president of Punjab hand tool Manufacturers' Association.
Sudarshan Sharma, owner of HR Group, a leading hand tool firm, also criticised the budget on the grounds that there was not much relief to the industry even as the budget is good for the common man.
"We were expecting reduction in excise duty and we are disappointed," said Sharma.
Ravinder Dhir, a sport goods manufacturer and president of Vyopar Sena Punjab, said, "The only relief sports goods industry has got in the budget is in the form of tax reduction in manufacturing of gloves from 12 per cent to 2 per cent.
"The industry was completely ignored and the stress of the budget was on big industrial houses only.
Our main demand was to cut the excise duty imposed on sports goods four years back. The government was not making revenue from this tax which has created bottlenecks for us only. The Punjab government has also failed to take up the issue," said Dhir.
Lt Col (retd) Jagjit Singh Paul, president of Punjab Leather Federation, appreciated the budget for being "growth-oriented" but also slammed it for not promoting the leather industry.
"The leather industry in India needs an urgent care because of the infrastructure available for this sector besides other issues. Like other industries, we were expecting to get a corpus funds or a special financial aid for the development of this industry and setting up of effluent treatment plants," said Paul.
Ajay Sharma, a leather industrialist and secretary of State Effluent Treatment Society, said the road map laid for GST was laudable and has left a positive effect on the industry.
"The move to increase the public provident fund (PPF) savings from 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh and the income tax exemption from 2 lakh to 2.5 lakh will benefit small businessmen and workers involved in the leather industry," he said.