The industry has given a thumbs-down to the state budget presented on Wednesday, saying it has nothing to offer to the industry.
Both industry and trade representatives have termed the budget as "disappointing", as none of their expectations were fulfilled. Finance minister
Parminder Singh Dhindsa presented the budget with a revenue deficit for the current year 2012-13 of Rs. 3,123 crore, which would be about 1.14% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) against the target of 1.2% with no additional taxes. However, this step has failed to please the industry.
The expectations of the industry and trade sector included VAT simplifications and steps to speed up the VAT refunds, besides steps to attract new industry and to retain the existing one.
Outlays for basic infrastructure for industry like power, roads, water supply, etc are earmarked in the budgets of the departments concerned. The outlay for the industry for the year 2012-13 is Rs. 54 crore for which includes Rs. 10 crore for up-gradation of focal points, which the industry apprehends is very less.
But the industry representatives questioned the funds allocated for improvement of focal points and said these funds were not even sufficient for Ludhiana alone.
The industry had demanded steps to streamline the VAT refund process so that the industry could get speedy refunds. Rajnish Ahuja, president, Focal Point Industrial Association, said, "We were expecting steps towards the simplification of VAT refunds and demanded that 90% of the refund be cleared within one week. But nothing in that regard has happened."
The government has an outlay Rs. 3,300 crore for the power sector, which is 25% of the total plan outlay for 2012-13. Assuring that work was in full swing at 1,980-MW plant at Talwandi Sabo, 540-MW plant at Goindwal Sahib and 1,400-MW plant at Rajpura, the government has said all units of these three power plants would become functional between May 2013 and May 2014
However, the industry is not too optimistic about the power projects. Most industrialists doubt the timely completion of power projects, as has been claimed in the budget.
"We really doubt that the power projects will be completed on time as claimed by the government in the budget. I think we have to operate on generators by using costly electricity," said Ajit Lakra, president, Knitwear and Textile Association. The state's own tax revenue has more than doubled from Rs. 9,017 crore in 2006-07 to Rs. 20,310 crore in 2011-12. The ratio of the state's tax revenue to the GSDP has improved from 7.09% in 2006-07 to 8.18% in 2011-12.
The 2012-13 estimates of state's own tax revenue are at Rs. 23,842 crore. The ratio of state's own tax revenue to GSDP is likely to be 8.71% in 2012-13.