When elections are round the corner and political parties more susceptible to suggestions, it’s time to raise demands.
Thus, when the Hindustan Times — in a first-of-its-kind initiative to build a public manifesto — invited trade organisations and industry bodies to share their wish-list, they came up with a plethora of demands ranging from social security to skill development.
There was anger, there was anguish but aspirations remained high.
Rajasthan automobile dealers’ association member Naresh Singhal’s demand for providing social security to the business class to help them lead a life of dignity after retirement got positive response from all-age groups.
“The revenue that the government needs for various schemes comes from the taxes we pay. But we get nothing in return in our old age,” Singhal said demanding relaxation in vat and high toll charged on the highways.
On the development front, president of Rajasthan Khadya Padarth Vyapar Sangh Babu Lal Gupta demanded development of specific markets in their respective areas of growth.
“We grow in abundance products alike amla, honey and spices in Rajasthan. We should develop specific markets for them, like for jeera in Jodhpur and Jaipur, for coriander in Ramganjmandi, for tamarind, ratanjot ( jetropa ) and for forest produce in Udaipur.”
Highlighting the need to increase the storage capacity for agriculture produce, Gupta suggested building of more storage warehouses and cold storages on public private partnership (PPP) model.
He also demanded of the parties to do away with mandi tax of 1.60% and said, “There is no mandi tax anywhere in the country but in Rajasthan where the agriculture sector is already weak.
This sector needs to be strengthened for the health of the industry sector as they are also based on agriculture produce,” he said.
Gupta quoted that only 60% of the oil mills were functional and demanded reduction of tax from 1.6% to 1%. The mandi tax on sugar should also be reduced to .50%.
General secretary of the Rajasthan Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( RCCI) KL Jain asked the political parties to promise skill development opportunities for the youth.
“The next government should frame a policy that would help build entrepreneurship skills in youths. Some schemes have been introduced but there is no comprehensive policy.”
Jain also demanded a policy to promote animal husbandry, real estate, herbal, horticulture and floriculture in the state to generate employment. “There is barren land in the state which should be given to the industries on token price,” he said.
He demanded prompt disposal of files and suggested the next government to consider appointment of professionals instead of senior bureaucrats.
Jain wanted the new government to establish communication links with investors.
Naresh Singhal had his views on other issues as well as he asked political parties to promise shifting of Transport Nagar, which has been hanging fire for the past 13 years in respective manifestoes as this would solve the problem of businessmen and will also ease congestion.
For the chairman of Rajasthan builders and promoters’ association Gopal Gupta, it is a matter of convenience that the government holds consultations with businessmen before framing laws.
“We have some burning issues like land conversion, map approval, no objection certificates and corruption.
"The cost incurred on these aspects leads to burden on realtors and eventually trickles down to the consumers. We thrice pay stamp duty and there is no compensation of value added tax. There is no social security, arranging labour is tough, and agitations by staff further plague us.
"I think every businessman should be consulted before making laws. Advice of experts should be taken in formation of policies,” he felt.
The president of the association Anuraag Sharma wanted the political parties to have a plan to accommodate the rising population which will be 65 lakh by 2025.