Chambers of commerce laud ‘forward-looking’ Budget
The Chamber said it was encouraging that the state has also been able to achieve a robust growth of seven times in agriculture and four times in infrastructure development in the past five years, while at the same time pushing down fiscal and revenue deficits within manageable limits even against the backdrop of a huge inherited debt burden of over Rs. 2.5 lakh crore.
By further simplifying and relaxing tax rules and procedures, Mitra expects to achieve better tax compliance and fiscal consolidation. Giving his reactions on the West Bengal Budget Proposals for 2016-17, Rakesh Shah, president of Bharat Chamber of Commerce, Kolkata said: “Amit Mitra deserves rich accolades for the most remarkable accomplishments in terms of the reduction in fiscal deficit and revenue deficit. This is despite large scale implementation of several ambitious schemes and projects for growth in the social development sector, which are being emulated in other States of the country.”
There is, however, no indication regarding the steps that the state government would be taking in commissioning the State GST. “It is indeed heartening that the State Tax revenue has more than doubled from Rs. 21,128.74 crores in 2010-11 to Rs. 42,919.66 crores in 2015-16. The thrust of the State Government through huge allocations for development of social infrastructure throughout the State in the last five years has paid rich dividends and the State has remarkably improved in terms of social infrastructure,” Shah observed.
While lauding the increased emphasis on the further growth of the MSME sector, Shah rued the fact that there is no proposal for making West Bengal more attractive for investments in large industries. “The required growth in employment opportunities is thus unlikely to be achieved in the absence of creation of large industries and integrating the MSMEs,” he stated.
Announcements like ‘virtual class rooms’, renewed emphasis on support for higher education and
considerable allocation for the tourism department are all expected to further intensify the state’s socio-economic position.
“The announcements to complete dispensation with requirement of submission of paper TDS, and the decision to avoid litigation where dispute amount in appeal Order is less than Rs. 1 Lakh, would sufficiently support the strong urge of the state towards ease of doing business. The Chamber congratulates Hon’ble Minster for the success of the fast track court in addressing the matters with due diligence and time frame. Besides, extension of the Industrial Promotion Scheme for the MSMEs deserves special appreciation. Considering the non-availability of C-Forms from other States within prescribed time frame, the proposal to reduce the appeal time period to 6 months from 1 year would, however, be difficult to maintain and would call for further litigation,” Shah concluded.
Anil Vaswani, Chairman, CII West Bengal State Council said that the Budget is a developmental one “with a focus on small-scale industries, health, infrastructure and education. The Finance Minister has made proposals to expedite speedy dispute resolution of VAT appeal cases. This will certainly go a long a long way in improving business environment in the state.”
“It is also extremely encouraging to note that the state has managed to raise the state’s own tax revenues to Rs 40,000 crore by ensuring better compliance. Provision for online TDS certificate will improve Ease of Doing Business in the State. Fiscal incentives for small and micro industries that got lapsed in March 2016 getting extended for three years is a welcome step, and will boost the sector,” Vaswani said.