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Thiruvananthapuram, March 1

"A GOOD Budget on the expected lines" is how participants at a Budget discussion organised by the Chamber of Commerce - Thiruvananthapuram described the Union Budget 2005-06, which was presented on Monday. However, most of those present also expressed disappointment with the fact that Kerala found no specific mention in the Budget.

Describing it as a "dream budget," Mr M.R. Narayanan, President, Chamber of Commerce - Thiruvananthapuram, said that the challenge for the Government will be to turn the dream into reality. Some measures outlined in the Budget, such as the proposal to create a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for driving infrastructure investments in roads, airports, harbours and tourism could benefit Kerala, he pointed out.

Mr G. Vijayaraghavan, President, Venture Management Associates, said the Budget was mostly on expected lines and gave it a score of between 6 and 7 on 10. Some welcome surprises included the announcement that the Government intends to introduce a `small and medium enterprises development Bill.'

The Budget for 2005-06 has few surprises, but also fails to motivate the whole country, said Mr V.K. Mathews, CMD, IBS Software Services. Calling it a "balanced and populist" Budget, he added that it appears to hold nothing special for Kerala.

Mr Sunil Gupta, Managing Director, IVL India Pvt Ltd, said the Budget does not make a mention of measures to boost the growth of the country's IT infrastructure. Measures such as the rationalisation of income tax slabs and income tax exemptions are quite welcome, he added.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 2, 2005)
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