KOCHI: The Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) has got its share in the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday. The budget has allocated Rs 14,264.60 crore for all the Metro rail projects and the KMRL will also get required fund from that pod. “For the current fiscal, the KMRL had sought an amount of `70 crore as the pass-through assistance for the phase 1 of Metro project. In the last year, KMRL had sought financial assistance of `303.91 crore as subordinate debt (`65.91 crore) and pass-through assistance (`238 crore) and received it completely," said a KMRL officer.
The allocation of `2.04 lakh crore for the Smart City Mission projects. Kochi, one of the cities selected by the Centre for the Smart City Mission project, will get its share from the funds. This allocation is expected to give a boost to the Mission projects, which are yet to be implemented.
"The Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has welcomed the budget. We are happy to learn that the Finance Minister has given special allocations for infrastructure development and for the overall development of agriculture sector," said KCCI chairman Antony Thomas Kottaram.
"The allocation of `1,000 crore for the fisheries sector and aquaculture development will be of great help to Kerala," he said.
‘Cut in import duty will provide a big boost to the cashew industry’
The proposal for a D5.97 lakh crore additional budgetary allocation for infrastructure is a positive step. The tax proposals announced in the budget are far below expectations. There have been no reductions in personal income tax rates, which is disappointing. The reduction in corporate tax announced is far from satisfactory as it will benefit only MSMEs with a turnover of D250 crore.
However, we welcome the introduction of the standard deduction of D40,000 in lieu of transport and medical allowance and the incentives announced for senior citizens. Where Kerala is concerned, we applaud the reduction of import duty on raw cashews from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. This is bound to be a boost for the cashew industry in Kerala. However, we are disappointed that other sectors such as rubber, coir, spices do not find specific mention on these lines.- Shaji Varghese, president, The Cochin Chamber of Commerce