Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Sunday, Sep 18, 2005
Industry & Economy - Employment
Marketing - Foreign Direct Investment
BJP demands urban employment guarantee, change in agri policy Wants FDI out of retail sector
Mr V.K. Malhotra
Chennai , Sept. 17
THE Bharatiya Janata Party's national executive has demanded change in policy relating to agriculture, urban employment guarantee and market assurance for farmers. It also wants foreign direct investment out of the retail sector.
Briefing reporters on the second day of the party's national executive meeting here, the party's spokesman, Mr V.K. Malhotra, said the executive urged the Centre for a legislation guaranteeing jobs for the urban unemployed.
It also wanted farm loan interest to be brought down, market and price assurance for agri-produce and social security scheme for the unorganised sector.
These were among the list of demands the BJP executive made to the Centre in its resolution on economic issues.
Mr Malhotra said the Centre's employment guarantee scheme, which focussed on the rural sector, must also be extended to the urban areas.
The Government should not allow foreign direct investment in the retail sector because retail trade provided the bulk of employment in the urban areas.
Introducing foreign retail players will result in large-scale job displacement. Foreign players can always use the franchise route to enter retailing.
The UPA Government should continue with the NDA Government's policy of bringing down interest on farm loans. The BJP-led NDA had brought down interest to 9 per cent from 15 per cent.
The Centre should improve rural infrastructure, provide assured markets and prices for farm produce and encourage bio-fuel crops.
Ethanol blended petrol should be made mandatory and petroleum products price increase must be controlled by reducing excise duty and import duty.
The BJP executive also wanted the service tax on goods and services reduced, the exemption limit for senior citizens and women increased to Rs 2.5 lakh and the fringe benefit tax withdrawn.
Responding to a query on value-added tax, Mr Malhotra said the BJP-ruled States would decide in the coming months on changing to VAT. They had not adopted VAT because BJP was particular that all States shift to the new system simultaneously. Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, with which some of the BJP-ruled States share a boundary, had not shifted to VAT.
The BJP felt that issues such as Central Sales Tax and traders' concerns on VAT had not been addressed.
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