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Trade bodies hail �balanced, realistic� Budget

By Staff reporter

GUWAHATI, Feb 29 - Several business bodies of the State today welcomed the Union Budget terming it �balanced, realistic and responsible�.

The Federation of Industry and Commerce of the North Eastern Region (FINER) lauded the Budget for being all-inclusive, rural-oriented and focused on tax reforms.

�Notwithstanding the impact of the 7th Pay Commission, one rank one pension outgo and global economic slowdown, Finance Minister must be given credit for presenting an all-inclusive, balanced and growth-oriented Budget with a focus on rural and agriculture sector on one hand and infrastructure on the other,� stated FINER in its reaction.

According to the trade body, tax reforms have been one of the priorities in the Budget, and a number of tax reforms measures for unearthing black money and concealed income have been initiated.

�Not only various economic parameters have been achieved, ...the Finance Minister has found resources for the unprecedented allocation for rural economic uplift,� it added.

It further added that populist measures have been rightly resisted to shift the focus towards consolidation by way of innovative thought process.

The Budget proposals would have positive impact on rural economy, including the Northeast, and a quantum jump in resource allotments for economic development of the North East States can be expected.

Welcoming the Union Budget, the Assam Chamber of Commerce (ACC) termed it a �good and realistic� one.

�To keep a growth rate of more than seven per cent is really commendable. The agricultural output was not as per the assumptions, which is why the Finance Minister has rightly allocated more funds in the agricultural sector,� an ACC statement said.

Another significant decision is to increase the tax slab to Rs 5 lakh, which is supposed to benefit many small entrepreneurs, who often get choked by the high rate of direct tax, stated the traders� body.

�Moreover, the Finance Minister has also indicated about abolishing the atrocity of tax inspectors in direct taxes. The North East was the only sector which was mentioned by the Finance Minister in his speech. Focus on making the North East a organic hub is really appreciable. Another significant thing in this year�s Budget is increase in allocation of MUDRA to Rs 1.80 lakh crore,� the statement added.

The ACC added that the initiative would benefit many budding entrepreneurs to step into the field of entrepreneurship. It, however, insisted that monitoring would be required so that the fund allotted to the young entrepreneurs is used properly.

Lauding the steps taken for social sector and investment in infrastructure, it said that this would attract foreign investments.

The Assam Real Estate and Infrastructure Development Association (AREIDA) also hailed the Budget, saying that it formulated both caution and fiscal consolidation. The organization termed it a responsible Budget that is good for the country.

AREIDA president PK Sharma said it was formulated to deal with increased risk in the global economy.

According to AREIDA, there was more in it for the housing sector than the Budgets in the past 15 years. It also praised the significant tax measures for affordable housing, recognising the potential of the housing sector to add to growth and job creation.

�These, coupled with the Rs 2,21,245 crore allocated for infrastructure, will provide a fillip to the �Make in India� and �StartUp India� campaigns,� the organization stated.

�Business would be greatly benefited by simplification and rationalization of the tax structure and removal of irritants to the honest tax payer. Hundred per cent deduction of profits and exemption of service tax for affordable housing projects, deduction for additional interest of Rs 50,000 per annum for the first-time home buyers for loans up to 35 lakh, and houses up to Rs 50,00,000 and excise duty exemptions on ready mix concrete, and enhancement of rent deduction limit from Rs 24,000 to Rs 60,000 are all significant provisions supporting the growth of housing sector,� the statement said.

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