Representative photo. Image credit - Business Today

The industry bodies of the Northeast have hailed the Union Budget 2019-20 presented by union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday.

While hailing the budget, the Federation of  Industry and Commerce of North Eastern Region (FINER) said the budget is aimed at long-term goals of achieving US$ 5 Trillion GDP  in the next five years.

FINER president Pabitra Buaragohain said the focus is on infrastructure, connectivity in terms of  Railways, State Roadways and Waterways, which will  not only  boost  economic activity but will give a much needed boost to generating employment  in the country.

Also read: Assam CM hails Union Budget 2019-20, terms it ‘pro-people, pro-poor’

“The government announcement that it will invest Rs 100 lakh crore in next five years in infrastructure will enhance investor sentiment and clearly promises large employment generation. Emphasis on Act East Policy will naturally augment infrastructure and connectivity of the Northeast region with the ASEAN countries,” he said.

Buaragohain added that the government also intends to facilitate easy finances to MSME sector by expeditious sanctioning of loans which will be a major step.

Also read: Meghalaya CM terms Union Budget as ‘balanced and positive’

“The  banking  sector is being helped with a Rs 70,000 crore  re-capitalisation fund, which shall directly  impact  availability of funds to  provide credit facility to  industry,” he said adding that simplification of  labour laws by  keeping only 4 labour codes  and replacing a plethora of existing laws  will  further  contribute  enormously  to  “ease  of doing business” in the country.

“However, FINER feels that imposition of Excise Duty and Cess on petrol and diesel could have a cascading impact on travel and transport cost which possibly needs to be reviewed. Another encouraging feature of the budget is introduction of a Dispute Resolution-cum-Amnesty Scheme for resolution and settlement of legacy cases of Central Excise and Service Tax. This is a welcome step for   clearing up huge pendency of appeals, etc. and officials and the tax payers may concentrate on future business and revenues,” he said.

Reacting to the Union Budget 2019 -2020, Ranjit Barthakur, chairman, FICCI North East Advisory Council said, “This budget has taken a balanced approach towards setting priorities and takes forward the plan that was set in motion in the interim budget. The focus on infrastructure development, housing, agriculture will give long term dividends to the economy.”

He said the budget maintained its focus on infrastructure development. While the government would continue with its existing major national programs like Bharatmala, Sagarmala, Rural roads, Udan and Inland waterways scheme, the vision of taking connectivity to the next level through ‘One Nation One Grid’ for electricity and a similar plan for gas grids, water grids, i-ways and regional airports is indeed ambitious and would be transformational in its impact.

Barthakur also welcomed the decision to reduce corporate tax to 25% for companies with turnover up to 400 crore.

“This along with initiatives like 2% interest subvention and payment platform for MSMEs will help small and medium industries in the North East and across the country,” he added.

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