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`Let-down on personal tax front'

Our Bureau

COIMBATORE, March 1

WHILE the trade and industry have welcomed some of the initiatives taken by the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, in his Budget speech, there has been disappointment over the measures announced on the personal tax front.

Mr R. Vellingiri, President, Southern India Engineering Manufacturers' Association (Siema), Coimbatore, welcomed the measures to reduce the Customs duty on raw materials such as copper, zinc, lead and aluminium that would have a marginal impact. But the reduction in duty on imported raw materials and finished goods would put them in direct competition with the local industry. He said the removal of certain agricultural implements and products now reserved for the SSI sector would force them to compete with the multinationals. The expectation of the industry for IT concessions had been belied.

Mr A.V. Varadharajan, President, Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, regretted that the Budget had again by-passed the demands of the textile sector in Coimbatore that had been in recession for years and even the sops announced were inadequate.

He said the Budget seemed to lack thrust and the inability of the Government to push through the reform agenda did not inject any optimism about economic growth.

Mr S. Amarjit Singh, former president, Federation of All-India Automobile Spare Parts Dealers' Associations, decried the move to reintroduce tax on dividend at the hands of the recipients. The cut in small savings rate would affect the consumer durables industry as the purchasing power of the people would be hit.

He said while the reduction in fuel prices was welcome, a cut in excise duty from 32 per cent to 16 per cent would give a stimulus to the ailing automobile sector.

Mr C.M. Jayaraam, Vice-President, Citizens' Voice Club, expressed disappointment over not providing IT relief to the salaried class people even though the Government had opted to reduce the interest rate on small savings.

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