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Wednesday, Mar 02, 2005

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Emphasis on building rural India: Thermax chief

Our Bureau

Pune , March 1

OVERALL, the Budget maintains continuity and is aimed at the masses. It has laid a lot of emphasis on building rural India.

The allocation of funds for rural education, improving nutrition and health, increasing access to credit in rural areas, enhancing rural electrification, roads, irrigation, drinking water, housing, etc — are all encouraged to give rural India a boost, Ms Meher Pudumjee, Chairperson, Thermax Ltd, said. She said as far as the corporate sector is concerned the Budget has touched upon a few fundamental issues, apart from maintaining the progressive direction set in the past such as possible FDI in the mining sector, reform of capital markets to create a capital bond market and banking sector reforms.

A few other positive moves include the reduction of customs duties on industrial raw materials and machinery; especially for the textile, leather, pharma and biotech sectors. Reducing the overall tax rate by about three per cent is welcome and it is good to see a disincentive levied on items that impact health. "The SPV being created to finance infrastructure projects, such as roads, ports, airports and power is a move that we strongly need. Being in the capital goods sector, our revenue is generated on derived demand and hence, any boost to the manufacturing sector will be beneficial to the sector."

Moreover, bringing in fiscal prudence and thereby maintaining revenue deficit to 2.7 per cent of GDP and reducing fiscal deficit to 4.3 per cent of GDP is commendable, she added.

Mr Prakash Chhabria, Deputy Managing Director, Finolex Industries, said, "Further impetus and the push given by the Finance Minister to agriculture and agri-related businesses would give a boost to the demand in the rural areas. This demand-push would benefit a vast section of the industry, which caters to the agriculture-driven businesses. The efforts to bring more land under irrigation will have the twin effects of raising agricultural production and generating more employment. The overall thrust of economic reforms gets further boost in the Budget for 2005-06,'' he added.

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