BHUBANESWAR: IT is a mixed verdict for the Union Budget- 2017.
While focus is on to spend more in rural areas, on infrastructure and poverty alleviation maintaining fiscal prudence, the State industrial body seems to be unhappy. Rating this Budget as 6 out of 10, Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI) president Ramesh Mohapatra said expectations were high for decreased lending rates by banks which are flushed with funds after demonetisation.
The lending interest rates should have come down substantially to 5 to 8 per cent for all businesses from the present level of 10-15 per cent, he said. Even as the increased provisions for infrastructure, railways, roads, ports and agriculture to double the farmer’s income in the last five years is praiseworthy, Mohapatra said yet the expectations of corporate sector, industry and trading bodies were not fully met.
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), however, welcomed the abolition of Foreign Investment Promotion Board as the institution was becoming increasingly irrelevant with 90 per cent of the FDI inflows coming through the automatic route. Head of FICCI-Odisha Sanjeev Mohanty said financial sector being the backbone of the economy got the needed attention. “Focus on railway safety and dedicated trains are some key steps in the right direction. Five per cent reduction of Corporate Income Tax on Medium and Small Enterprises would also increase their competitiveness.
There is also increase in emphasis on digital payment which would bring more transparency in the economy,” he added. Stating that amendments to the rules for reducing cost of life saving drugs are positive, CEO (Odisha and Chhattisgarh) of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited Sudhir M Diggikar said encouragement to private hospitals to offer Diplomate National Board (DNB) courses signals growing opportunities for further private-public collaboration in health services and education leading to long-term impact on quality.