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Cochin Chamber urges Kerala govt to reduce VAT on natural gas

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on January 08, 2021

In pre-Budget memorandum, the Chamber seeks maritime cluster at Willingdon Island

The Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the State Government to reduce VAT on natural gas from the current level of 14.5 per cent.

This would increase the utilisation of natural gas in Kerala from the recently inaugurated Kochi-Mangalore gas pipeline. Neighbouring Tamil Nadu charges only 4 per cent tax on natural gas. So, a cut in gas levies would give an impetus for development and growth, Chamber president K Harikumar said.

In a pre-Budget memorandum submitted to the State Finance Minister, he also requested inclusion in the Budget proposals of a maritime cluster based at Willingdon Island at par with leading international maritime centres. The proposed project seeks to develop core, financial as well as regulatory and other services (tourism, maritime museum, etc).

The Chamber also sought finalisation of Maritime Rules to facilitate implementation of the Maritime Board Act, 2017.

Also read: Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry calls for retail trade policy in Kerala

On the Ease of Doing Business front, the trade body requested to make Kerala industry 4.0 ready. Industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, Internet of Things and cloud computing. Industry 4.0 creates what has been called a ‘Smart Factory’.

The Chamber has also sought governance reforms, representation of more industry organisations in committees of the government, and a comprehensive and unified Kerala Public Health Act, among some other proposals.

While commending the government for taking proactive steps towards forming a plantation policy, the Chamber said Kerala produces around 48 per cent of the total plantation crops in India. The State accounts for 76.5 per cent of rubber, 88.6 per cent of cardamom, 22.05 per cent of coffee and 4.54 per cent of tea. Around 3.3 lakh labourers are directly dependent on plantations.

Also read: Trade bodies raise concern over cargo restrictions for foreign carriers in Kerala

The Chamber, the only trade body which gets invited for pre-Budget consultations for the national Budget, has a focused thinking on making Kerala grow, Harikumar said.

Published on January 08, 2021

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