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New direct tax will result in economic
November, 12th 2009

The new direct taxation of the industry, mooted by the Centre, has already set alarm bells ringing in the country's industry cricles. So much so that the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) president, Swati Piramal, even called it "economic tsunami", since its bottomline is taxing the assets of the industry, which is not a hitherto practised profit.

"We want and favour efficient, equitable and fair tax regime. We don't want tax on the assets. It will ruin the existing industry and, in fact, would prove to be economic tsunami," said Piramal, head of the Nicholas Piramal group and also the first woman president of Assocham, at a felicitation programme organised by the Bihar Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday evening.

Piramal said the country for that matter even Bihar was faced with three big challenges. These were efforts for economic recovery and the newly mooted direct taxation policy, lowest investment in research and development by the industry, as well as poor health and education conditions.

Piramal further pointed out that automobile, information technology and pharmaceutical were the only sectors in which the industry has been making investments in R&D. "Otherwise, it is the lowest at 1% compared to all other countries.

China has galloped in the pharmaceutical sector through investment in R&D. We are not a science-based industry," she said, adding: "It is the biggest obstacle to the growth of our industry."

The situation being as it is, the Centre has prepared the Direct Tax Draft Proposal. And, if implemented, it would further ruin the industry, since taxing the assets would be a deterrent to growth, she said, and called on all the trade and industry bodies to protest against it.

Saying that she has been touring the country to know about the economy, Piramal said Assocham would organise seminars all over the country, including Patna.

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