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Prepare members for GST regime
April, 02nd 2010

As India prepares to usher in a GST (goods and service tax) regime on April 1, 2011 , CII will set up help desks for members on how to manage the new tax regime. There is no formal document yet, but when it comes out, we want to help members with tackling the new tax regime, said Kurush Grant, who was elected CII eastern region chairman last week.

He said the implementation of the GST regime will automatically lead to a far higher degree of computerisation among members. The change to GST is the single largest modification of our tax structure which will give a degree of forecastability to industry, we will not be taken by surprise at rate hikes and so forth, thus improving the industrial climate, he added.

Grant, who heads the FMCG business of ITC, and was also appointed to the board as a whole-time director for three years last week, will also stress on sustainability at CII, guiding members on how to implement CDMs (clean development mechanism). Green development makes good business sense, said Grant, adding, at ITC we have decided that anything new we build will be green.

He said CIIs broad perspectives would be to help members work towards a driven bottomline, ensure sustainability and target inclusive growth.

A host of programmes will be conducted through the year to increase technical knowhow, raise awareness on environment, health and safety, skilled development.

Grant spoke about the number of steel plants coming up in the region in Bengal , Orissa and Jharkhand. Its crucial that coal, steel, other mining plants take the environment along, he said.

Grant said CII will also focus on getting the East more noticed both in other parts of India and internationally. The East is the natural source of investment for the Far East . But if you take tourism alone, its absurd that six times more tourists go to the Far East from here than arrivals. He pointed out that the Easts single biggest challenge is employment we have a growing population of working adults but we need to create jobs. We need a much larger consuming pool and for that government, industry and civil society must work together.

Talking about the industries in focus in the East, he singled out three: heavy engineering, IT and food processing. Grant said the East should build on the talent pool and cost arbitrage. Not just Kolkata, we should concentrate on smaller cities like Siliguri, Haldia, Kharagpur, Durgapur .

Grant said the East should follow the model APMC Act, and enable industry to work with the farm sector. From the farmgate to the consumer, there should be far lesser intermediaries. ITC, he said, was experimenting with model farms in Malda across crop types.

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