GUWAHATI, Feb 1 - Experts and industry bodies in the North-East have by and large welcomed the Union Budget and said that it focuses on the poor, agriculture, infrastructure and rural economy.
�It is a good Budget with the focus on the poor, agriculture, growth, small and medium enterprises and integrity,� said Sandipan Chakravortty, chairman, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), North East Council.
Abhijit Barooah, co-chairman, CII North East Council, said, �CII believes that the Budget is going to benefit the North-East tremendously as the region has primarily an agriculture and rural-based economy and the Government has given ample emphasis on the development of these two sectors. Transport is another sector on which the Government has given much focus and this will give a major fillip to the ongoing as well as planned projects in the transport sector of the region.�
In the NE, most industries are MSME in nature and increase in the disbursement of loans under the Mudra Scheme to Rs 2.44 lakh crore will give the much-needed impetus to the SMEs of the region. Barooah added that the success of the Budget proposals would depend immensely on the execution of the schemes by the State Government, banks and other organisations, especially in the rural sector.
Noted economist MP Bezbarua, however, gave a �mixed� response. �It is a continuation of the previous Budget. Sufficient funds have been given to agriculture and the rural sector. But I feel the deficiencies in the public delivery system need to be given more focus.�
Bezbaruah felt that there are sufficient funds in various Central schemes and the NE State governments can extract immense benefits from those.
President of the Federation of Industry & Commerce of the North Eastern Region Pabitra Buragohain said the Budget �will consolidate the fiscal position. There are also incentives for the MSME sector.�
Ranjit Barthakur, chairman, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry�s North East Advisory Council, said, �This is a growth-oriented, balanced Budget and will do a lot to spur demand to put the economy back on a high-growth trajectory.�
�We hope that increased allocation of funds for capital spending is reflected in infrastructure spending in the NE. The region requires substantial investment in roads, railways, inland waterways, etc.,� he added.
Dr Dhrubajyoti Saikia, VC of Cotton College University, said the allocation for solar energy is a good move. He, however, said the Budget has no blueprint for the Government�s Act East Policy.
Economist Dr Amiya Sharma said investments in infrastructure and rural sectors would boost demand. The Budget harps on clean economy. Transparency will take the economy to a different level.�
SK Barua, chairman of CII Assam State Council, said, �The Budget is likely to promote growth. Allocation of Rs 3.96 lakh crore in infrastructure will increase growth; particularly in roads and railways we expect a major chunk of these to come in the Northeast. Announcement of 5 per cent reduction in taxation in MSME/small industries is positive for the NE.�