22.11.2022: Infra sector seeks public expenditure hike, GST rationalisation from Budget 2023

With the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met infrastructure industry experts at the customary pre-budget meeting, the later sought rationalisation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), easier bank credit and a hike in public expenditure.

In its presentation to FM Sitharaman on 21 November, Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) sought a reduction of levies and taxes on the telecom sector amid new new-age 5G networks and services roll out across the country.

“…our demand for cost reduction should be looked at expeditiously,” PTI quoted Director General of COAI SP Kochhar as saying during the online meeting of the infrastructure industry experts with FM Sitharaman.

Apart from pitching for rationalisation of GST, the telcos sought reduction of licence fee to one per cent from three per cent and lowering of customs duty on equipment.

The COAI counts telecom operators like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea as its members.

Among others, the representatives of the auto industry sought the government's support in terms of long-term policies for establishing India as a strong electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing base. They also pitched for government support to the EV companies for reskilling the workforce.

Meanwhile, Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME) opined the bank loan rating (BLR) requirement is proving to be a great dampener in the growth of MSMEs. They sought immediate intervention in setting up a joint committee of the RBI, banks and stakeholders to develop a unique rating model for MSMEs, which focuses on solvency alone.

FISME made a plea to form a task force to study the extent of the spread of some private sector banks levy pre-payment penalties (four per cent) on MSMEs and suggested remedial measures in a time bound manner.

Industry body PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) in its suggestion said the infrastructure investments in the country must not be less than 10 per cent of the GDP to achieve state-of-the-art infrastructure and become a developed economy by 2047.

While CII pitched for setting up separate SPVs in the infrastructure sector in a bid to execute individual infrastructure projects due to the mandate of tender conditions issued by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

Earlier in the day, FM Sitharaman kicked off pre-budget consultations by holding meetings with industry chamber heads and infrastructure experts on their expectations from the upcoming Budget.

Source: LiveMint

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