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FICCI demands tax incentive for industrialization of SC/ST districts
May, 31st 2008

It appears the government will have to shoulder the responsibility of uplifting the less privileged sections of the population all by itself. At a time when government is finding it hard to cope with the increasing demands on the exchequer, industry chamber FICCI is seeking substantial tax sops from government to promote industrialization in SC/ST dominated districts.

Last year, PM had created a stir by asking industry to be more proactive in offering employment to the less privileged. This sparked fears that the government would make it mandatory for companies to reserve some jobs for the SC/ST classes. Industry was firm in its view that enforcing reservation in the corporate sector is not a productive move and has tried to focus on other ways of empowering these disadvantaged communities.

FICCI responded on Wednesday sending its freshly scripted code of conduct to commerce and industry secretary, Ajay Shankar. The code will be adopted by FICCI members and is intended to help companies gather speed in the implementation of the affirmative action policy. FICCI has a total of 2,50,000 members of which 2,000 are direct members, while the others are associated through an all-India network of 500 chambers of commerce and industry. Along with this, FICCI has submitted a scheme to promote industrialization in 27 districts with SC/ST population of 40%.

According to FICCI, 45% of the 33 million entrepreneurs are from the SC/ST/OBC category and 10% of these belong to the SC/ST category. This means roughly 1.65 million entrepreneurs are from the SC/ST category. Government should support their business endeavours with soft loans, preferential contracts in construction and other sops, FICCI's Amit Mitra told TOI.

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