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Ludhiana industrialists give a thumbs down to Manpreet’s budget, say nothing in store for MSME

The industrial associations have been demanding the refunds of VAT and GST for the last couple of months and have also met ministers in this regard. With no budgetary allocation for modernisation of industries, the business community rated this budget as anti-industry announcement.

punjab Updated: Mar 25, 2018 14:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Ludhiana industrialists,thumbs down,Manpreet’s budget
Badish Jindal, president of Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations (FOPSIA), said that the state government failed to please the industry with its budget proposals.(HT File/Representative image)

The industry associations have expressed their disappointment over the annual budget tabled by the state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal in the assembly on Saturday. The finance minister announced Rs 4,250 crore debt waiver farmers and Rs 100 crore for crop residue management. However, the industrialists feel that nothing much was offered to their sector in the second budget announced by the Congress government after coming to power.

The industrial associations have been demanding the refunds of VAT and GST for the last couple of months and have also met ministers in this regard. With no budgetary allocation for modernisation of industries, the business community rated this budget as anti-industry announcement.

Speaking to HT, Badish Jindal, president of Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations (FOPSIA), said that the state government failed to please the industry with its budget proposals. We condemn the new tax proposals. In his second budget, the finance minister proved that he is not fit for the post. He proposed an increase in non-taxable income from Rs 5,096 crore to Rs 10,229 crore which is next to possible. Secondly, without giving any additional facilities, the net expenditure of the state government increased from Rs 71,182 crore to Rs 86,351 crore whereas in 2016-17 it was Rs 58,163 crore. So the Congress increased the expenditure of more than Rs 28,000 crore in just two years and that too without giving any additional facility to the public or industry,” said Jindal.

Criticising the finance minister, Jindal further said, “In 61-page speech, the finance minister gave only half a page to the industry which shows how much importance the industry gives to the state government. The whole budget is merely a replication of the previous budgets of the SAD-BJP governments that forced around Rs 18,000 industries to close down in the last six years.”

Pankaj Sharma, general secretary, Confederation of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), said that the budgetary provisions announced by the finance minister have ignored the demands of industries in Ludhiana.

“The Rs 1,440 crore subsidised power announced in the budget is an eyewash as it only helps the power intensive units and not the micro, small and medium enterprises which consume relatively less power. No announcement was made regarding VAT and GST refunds which have blocked crores of money of industrialists. There is some silver lining as the GSDP has increased by 9.1% from 2016-17 to 2017-18,” he said.

The CICU general secretary hailed the finance minister for allocating budget for the health and education sector in his provisions but criticised the free power to scheduled caste and backward caste families which will cost Rs 8,950 crore. “The outstanding debt will go up to Rs 2,11,523 crore in 2018-19 and yet the government keeps doling out subsidies which only burdens the state’s finances,” said Sharma.

SC Ralhan, president, Ludhiana hand Tools Association said that the state government has failed to address most issues of the traders and the industrial community in Ludhiana. “The traders are worried over the pending VAT and GST refunds which run into crores. The budget has failed to announce any special allocation for the MSMEs in Ludhiana,” he said.

The Federation of Industrial and Commercial Organisation (FICO) issued a press release criticising the budget and blamed the finance minister for ignoring the industrial sector of Ludhiana.

“There is no package for the bicycle industry, which is the mother industry of Punjab, as India is the second largest manufacturer of bicycles in the world. There is no special announcement for the MSME sector. Rs 1,440 crore subsidy has been announced for the power sector, but the industry is not getting electricity at Rs 5/- per unit. Every taxpayer will have to pay development tax which is another burden on taxpayers especially in this period of crunch,” said Gurmeet Kulhar, president of FICO, adding that the budget is primarily an anti-industry budget.

First Published: Mar 25, 2018 14:31 IST