Some hits, some misses for Madurai traders

Dr N Jegatheesan, President of TN Chamber of Commerce and Industries, requested CM MK Stalin to conduct the World Investors Conference 2024 at Madurai so as to promote trade industry.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | AP)
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | AP)

MADURAI: The state budget tabled on Monday turned out to be a mixed bag for the trade and industry sector as many expected announcements, including the formation of a GST high-level advisory committee, failed to find a place. Stakeholders welcomed the allocation of funds for several schemes, including the metro projects in Madurai and Coimbatore and on-the-job training for youth through the 'Factory Skill Schools' programme, beautification of the city, infrastructure development through the Maamadurai project and the SIPCOT Textile Park in Virudhunagar, which is expected to provide employment to as many as 2.2 lakh people.

Dr N Jegatheesan, President of TN Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said, "We welcome the budget as it has satisfies people from all walks of life and for aiming at overall economic development of the state. However, the industry is disappointed due to the overlooking of certain demands, such as the underpass for the Madurai airport, slashing the power tariff hike that has hit MSMEs. We strongly believe relief would be provided during the Demand for Grants discussion in the days to come." He further requested Chief Minister MK Stalin to conduct the World Investors Conference 2024 at Madurai so as to promote trade industry in Southern Tamil Nadu.    

President of the Agro Chamber S Rethinavelu appreciated Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan for bringing down the fiscal deficit from 4.6% to 3%, which is the Golden Target as prescribed in the Tamil Nadu Fiscal Responsibility Act (2003). He welcomed the steps taken by the government to make TN a revenue-neutral state. "The financial eminence is path-breaking and sure to attract multi-national companies to start their units in the state. The expansion of the Chief Minister's Breakfast Scheme to 18 lakh students is commendable. We insist the authorities to serve millet-based food either in breakfast or noon meal scheme for ensuring health security among children. This will also increase the revenue of farmers and processors in the food sector," he added.

Explaining the need for the formation of GST high level advisory committee, Rethinavelu said the complicated enforcement of GST has led to the pathetic condition of the trade industry as they are not able to express their grievances. "We request the chief minister to address our long pending demand and form the panel under the leadership of the finance minister with representatives from trade and industry to decide points to be placed before the GST council," he said.  

SVSS Velshankar, president of the Tamil Nadu Foodgrains Merchants Association Limited, said, "Prudent fiscal management in line with data-based governance is reflected in the state revenue deficit, which has reduced to 30,000 crore from 62,000 crore. We expect the revenue deficit to drastically reduce in the coming years. The allocation of Rs 8,500 crore for the metro project connecting Othakadai and Thirumangalam is appreciable. We hope the project commences by this year itself and change the source station to Melur covering Othakadai." He further wanted the re-introduction of Samadhan Scheme, which is now initiated in other states to collect tax arrears, launched during the value-added tax regime.

MS Sampath, president of Madurai District Tiny & Small Scale Industries Association (MADITSSIA) , said the introduction of 'Factory Skill Schools' programme can reduce training expenses in the industrial sectors. "It is appreciable that the government has concentrated on green energy and have brought in plans to develop MSME sector in the state. However, availability of industrial land in Madurai is one of the major hurdles for industrial development. The government should either take action towards increasing the availability to 15% or action towards providing essential industrial amenities for MSMEs," he added.

TABLE: :) (in green)  :( (in red)

                Reducing fiscal deficit                      Underpass for Madurai airport
                Steps for revenue-neutrality              Power tariff hike
                Expansion of Breakfast scheme        Millet-based food
                Metro for Madurai                             Formation of GST advisory panel
                Focus on green energy                       Availability of industrial land
                'Maamadurai' scheme

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