Industry to seek fiscal sops from 14th finance panel today

Facing innumerable challenges to sustain itself,Punjab’s industry will seek fiscal incentives on the lines of hilly areas,funds for development expenditure and faster GST implementation from 14th Finance Commission which will hold meeting with sector representatives on Friday

Written by Press Trust Of India | Chandigarh | Updated: April 8, 2014 2:50 pm

Facing innumerable challenges to sustain itself,Punjab’s industry will seek fiscal incentives on the lines of hilly areas,funds for development expenditure and faster GST implementation from 14th Finance Commission which will hold meeting with sector representatives on Friday.

“Fiscal incentives to neighbouring states like Himachal Pradesh have given a severe blow to Punjab’s industry. To revive industry’s growth,we will demand same sort of economic packages for Punjab from the 14th Finance Commission to boost the state’s industry,” CII Punjab State Council Chairman D L Sharma told PTI.

The industry pointed out that being a border state with locational disadvantage,giving fiscal sops to Punjab could augur well for the industry to sustain itself and grow. The state government has also been claiming that tax concessions given to neighbouring states by the Centre had led to flight of the industry from Punjab,which hit the industrialisation process hard.

A team of 17 members of 14th Finance Commission led by Y V Reddy will meet Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,different parties,trade and industry and representatives of rural,urban bodies,industry department,finance department on September 6 and 7.

The industry will also pitch for announcing freight equalisation scheme,especially for exporters in order to compete in the market. “We are located far away from natural resources,so we want that a freight equalisation scheme can be introduced for the industry,” PHD Chamber Co-Chairman Punjab Committee R S Sachdeva said.

With the state government facing fiscal challenges,the state industry said that a one-time financial assistance could be announced for Punjab so that the government could spend on infrastructure development that would otherwise be beneficial for industry to flourish.

“Funds can be announced for Punjab,which can be spent on development of the state’s infrastructure and it will in turn help the industry to grow,” Sharma said.

The industry also sought cheap power,which has been eroding its competitiveness as against industrial hubs set up in other states. “Power in Punjab is very costly and efforts could be made in this regard by the Centre to eliminate the cross subsidisation scheme,which has dealt a blow to state industry,” said Sharma.

Sachdeva added: “Subsidy to Punjab could also be given on coal coming from other states so that transportation expenditure can be reduced to a large extent and it will lead to cheap power.”

For transparency and more tax mobilisation,efforts should be stepped up for faster implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST). “GST implementation will help states like Punjab as it is the highly consuming states and government should make efforts towards its faster implementation,” Sharma said.

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