Economy

Confederation of Indian Industry welcomes Kerala Budget

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on January 15, 2021

Thomas John Muthoot, Chairman, CII Kerala

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has welcomed the Kerala Budget for 2021-22, calling it a progressive and inclusive one touching the entire strata of society. Priority has been accorded for reviving the economy in the post-pandemic scenario with focus on new avenues for generating non-tax revenues, said Thomas John Muthoot, Chairman, CII-Kerala, and Chairman and Managing Director, Muthoot Fincorp.

Sreenath Vishu, Vice-Chairman, CII Kerala and Executive Director, Brahmins Foods India, said that tackling unemployment in the State, one of the highest in the country, is one of the primary thrust areas of the Budget.

Digital platform for jobs

The digital platform envisaged for companies to directly hire job-seekers for ‘work from home’ or ‘work near home’ models, will help many MSMEs.

Professionals getting jobs through the platform will have access to government incentives like purchasing computers and technical devices on affordable loans through Kerala Financial Corporation, Kerate State Financial Enterprises and Kerala Bank is a welcome measure, Vishnu added.

The budget talks about forming a ‘skill mission’ under the Kerala Development Innovation Strategy Council (K-DISC) as part of which 50 lakh educated youth will be imparted training on a war-footing. This too will help a lot of MSMEs.

CII feels that increase in rubber procurement price (floor price) increase is another good move. However, the government could have also considered intercropping of rubber plantation with vegetables, coffee which would be beneficial for the farmers in the long run.

CII feels that allocation of ₹75 crore for coconut farming is not adequate; value addition coconut products should have been considered.

Marketing funds for tourism

The Budget allocation for marketing of ₹100 crore in tourism is much appreciated.

The additional ₹25 crore announced would help energise the sector, especially domestic tourism. The Kshema Nidhi board for employees is a good initiative. Budget allocations for various heritage tourism projects are a welcome step in so far as it would help promote the industry.

Lowering of stamp duty and registration charges will give a boost to the real estate sector in the state. Making Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Fund Board (KIIFB) responsible for rooting infrastructure development is a good decision. Schemes related to housing and houses for the needy are also commendable.

Populist streak unveiled

Waiver of electricity Cess for the first three years for new industries would benefit the MSME sector and other industries. The six programmes for encouraging start-ups and the allocation of ₹22 crore for development of the Technopark, ₹36 crore for the Infopark, and ₹12 crore for the Cyberpark, will help the IT sector and entrepreneurship ecosystem at large.

The automobile industry welcomed the announcement of 50 per cent reduction in road tax for all electrified vehicles including hybrid and fuel cell vehicles for the first years.

Several populist announcements too have been made, which include raise in social welfare pension and continuing with distribution of free food kits. The CII also welcomed announcements that eight lakh jobs will be created in the current fiscal year and that projects worth ₹15,000 crore under KIIFB will be completed in 2021-22.

The Finance Minister has once again shown that he is relying heavily on KIIFB for raising funds for the state. Reduction in tax on CNG and LPG from 14.5 per cent to 5 per cent will help in bringing down the cost of essential items.

Published on January 15, 2021

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