Bhubaneswar: The Union Budget 2017 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Parliament on Wednesday evoked mixed reactions from the Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI).
UCCI president Ramesh Mahapatra said that on a scale of 1-10, the UCCI would rate this Budget as six. While, the increased provisions for infrastructure, railways, roads and ports as also for agriculture to double the farmer’s income in last five years is praiseworthy, yet corporate sector and industry and trade bodies expectations were not fully met.
The reduction of Corporate Tax by five per cent for MSME units up to a turnover limit of Rs 50 crore is welcome step but the overall Corporate Tax has not come down to usher in growth in the GDP by the manufacturing and the service sector, Mahapatra said. Similarly, the expectations were high for decreased lending rates by banks as they are flush with funds, after demonetisation for India incorporated to be competitive with neighbouring countries like, China, and Thailand, where their interest rates are between five to eight per cent. The lending interest rates should have come down substantially from present level of 10 per cent to 15 per cent for all businesses, he said
“However, two welcome announcements for Odisha are a crude oil reservoir at Chandikhol and a commemorative memorial for Buxi Jagbandhu at Khorda. Overall the Budget may benefit the rural economy, but corporate India’s expectations were not fully met,” Mahapatra added.
Earlier, the UCCI before the Budget was announced, had told a Press meet that though the demonetisation motive was good, the economy has shrunk, and if appropriate steps are not taken, it would shrink further. Stress should be laid on infrastructural growth and increase in steel production.
Railway freight on exports is still high.
A small group of tax- payers are paying tax. Only three crore population is paying tax, though there were two crore car purchases last year. The indirect tax collection should be increased and greater importance should be given to the MSME sector because it creates more employment opportunities. Job elasticity has decreased and job creation is of paramount importance. The Income Tax slab should be increased from the present Rs 2.5 lakh. Besides, sops should be provided to the housing sector which is going through a very lean phase, the UCCI functionaries said.
On the Railway Budget, the UCCI said if railway fares are increased it would hurt the masses. Funds should be allocated for safety, keeping in view, the number of accidents in the recent past. Overall the body had expected a well-balanced and inclusive Budget.
Among others, UCCI secretary Prasant Satapathy, and vice-president Brahmananda Mishra, Pradeep Patsani, Ramesh Kumar Sahu and other functionaries were present.