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India Inc welcomes thrust on reforms

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Feb. 25

INDIA Inc on Friday welcomed the overall thrust on reforms spelt out in the Economic Survey, saying this depicts that the economy is on a growth path.

Particularly, its emphasis on investment in agriculture, infrastructure and on improving the overall investment climate came in for praise, with captains of the industry pointing out that encouraging public-private partnership will reverse the decline in rural infrastructure investment.

However, some areas of concern have also been noted. While the President of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, expressed concern on the continued deterioration of fiscal balances, his counterpart at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mr Onkar S. Kanwar, pointed out the dip in agricultural production as another area of worry.

Meanwhile, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry and India has suggested that the Government should "drastically" curtail subsidies in energy and fertiliser sectors while retaining, as far as possible, the subsidy on food.

Other measures that have received acclaim include the Survey's emphasis on reforming labour laws and the removal of foreign direct investment (FDI) capin some sectors. The emphasis on investment in infrastructure for agriculture growth, raising of FDI in retail, coal mining and insurance sectors and setting up of a regulatory framework for core infrastructure industries should play a critical role in pushing up the GDP growth rate, observed Mr Kanwar.

Assocham has also hailed the move to bring in more services into tax net, saying that the projected 7 per cent growth rate can be achieved provided reforms in the promised sectors are accelerated.

Mr Munjal urged the Government to come up with specific measures to widen the tax base further so that resources necessary for financing additional social expenditures can be raised without any further deterioration in fiscal balances.

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