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Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004

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Chamber welcomes measures to alleviate poverty

Our Bureau

Kochi , Feb. 3

THE Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the Budget proposals and said that measures for poverty alleviation, crop loans at reduced interest rates, formation of the National Cattle Development Board, health sector improvements and user-friendly tax administration with regard to customs and central excise departments, would foster faster growth.

Mr P.M. Muraleedharan, President of the chamber, said that one of the medical colleges in the State should have been upgraded to the level of AIIMS. Recognising the tourism potential of the State, he said that one of the Global Standard International Convention Centres should also have been located in Kerala.

While acknowledging that the revival package for the tea industry is a noteworthy one, he said that it was essential that special schemes were evolved for tea, both for the internal markets and for exports. "It would have been a great relief to the distributive trade if a reasonable reduction in bank rate was granted to the sector through the Budget," Mr Muraleedharan said.

The Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the Budget and said that they were happy that the existing tax structure would continue. The emphasis given to improvements in infrastructure, fiscal consolidation, employment generation were welcomed by the chamber. Specific measures like 50 per cent reduction in central government stamp duty rates, enhancing the limit for customs duty on accompanying baggage were also welcomed.

While the interim Budget proposal will accelerate growth, it contains announcements rather than concrete proposals, the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said.

The chamber praised the Finance Minister for limiting the fiscal deficit to 4.8 per cent of the GDP.

The proposal for a small and medium enterprises fund and the industrial infrastructure fund came for special mention. Mr Liaquat Ali, President of the Kerala Chamber, said that the measures announced for the agriculture sector would foster the advent of the second green revolution in the country.

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