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Saturday, Jan 10, 2004

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Cochin Chamber hails Jaswant sops

Our Bureau

Kochi , Jan. 9

THE Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the "growth-oriented" economic measures announced by the Union Government on Thursday, saying that the initiatives will spur the country on to greater growth as well as improving its competitiveness in the global market.

The Chamber President, Mr N.R. Pai, said that the Government has not watered down the reform agenda considering the impending general elections, but it has further endorsed the process through these announcements. The decision to reduce customs and excise duties is a very positive step which would have far reaching consequences as far as the growth and competitiveness of Indian industry is concerned, he said.

On the direct taxes front, the decision of the Government to exempt those with salaried income up to Rs 1.5 lakh from filing tax returns is welcome and also the decision to provide relief to senior citizens. The proposal to allow the filing of returns through the Internet as also the streamlining of the paperwork involved is most timely and positive. This will help remove a lot of hassles faced by assesses on this score.

The one-time income tax exemption for infrastructure projects will prove to be a boon that will spur infrastructure growth and development across the country. Besides, the various trade facilitation measures as well as the initiatives announced for the various sectors such as IT, civil aviation, health etc are most welcome, Mr Pai said.

The Chamber also welcomes the announcement made by the State Electricity Minister that the KSEB is to be divided into two separate companies. While this is a positive move, the Chamber hoped that the Government would take the bold initiative of privatising these two companies in order to promote the growth and efficiency of this sector in Kerala, he added.

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