India Inc on Friday spoke in a unanimous voice to the new government when it sought a revival in the investment cycle, clarity in tax policies and a boost to manufacturing. The issues were brought up at a pre-Budget meeting by finance minister Arun Jaitley with trade and industry leaders.
Underlining the difficult economic conditions, Jaitley said, “The economic situation at present is quite challenging but there is enthusiasm among the industry to turn it to its advantage. There is need to give directional thrust to translate it into better results.”
While seeking provisions like deferment of GARR for at least next three years and roll out of the goods and services tax, industry leaders also stressed that the government should follow three Cs — Credibility of policy, Continuity of decisions and Clarity of legislation.
“We had discussions pertaining to direct tax, pertaining to stimulus for growth, we covered manufacturing as a thrust sector, innovation, entrepreneurship, job creation. The government is very committed to kickstart the economy and other issues discussed were pertaining to service tax and exemptions,” said Biocon CMD Kiran Mazumdar Shaw after the meeting.
“Reviving investments, simple tax regime were the main take-away from the discussions today,” said Sunil Mittal, chairman Bharti Enterprises after the meeting. Mittal also urged the finance ministry to look at auctioning more spectrum. Venugopal Dhoot, chairman Videocon Industries echoed similar sentiments and said that most business leaders pointed to the need to do away with retrospective taxation. “Income tax exemption should be given to people who earn up to Rs 5 lakh income annually…. Apart from that, IT Act should be changed and GST implemented,” he said.
Tulsi Tanti, chairman, Suzlon Group sought incentives for the wind energy industry. “FDI needs to be increased if we have to move from an 2,000 MW per annum production to 5,000 MW. We need to encourage the SMEs and also provide accelerated depreciation benefits to the wind energy industry.”
While some industry groups also lobbied for lower tax rates and exemptions, sources said that the finance minister indicated that there was little scope for it in the Budget next month.