NE industrial groups say Budget citizen-centric, growth-oriented
Budget Team 2023 (Source Twitter @IncomeTaxIndia)

GUWAHATI: Influential industrial groups of the Northeast, including the Federation of Industry & Commerce of North Eastern Region (FINER), welcomed the Union Budget 2023.

Describing it as a welcome budget, CII North East Council chairman Pradeep Bagla said the Northeast would gain substantially from the budget.

Bagla said in the agriculture sector, making available quality planting materials, especially for millets, agri-accelerator funds to support agri-startups, and young entrepreneurs for innovative solutions will benefit and encourage aspiring startups, entrepreneurs and farmers in the Northeast.

The increased credit target of Rs 20 lakh crore for the agriculture sector, with a focus on animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries will fuel growth and enhance farmers’ incomes. Further, the support and focus accorded to Natural farming will boost the organic outlook of the Northeast, Bagla said.

“Energy sector overall has generated major focus and the Northeast with four oil refineries is expected to gain in view of the allocations of Rs 19,700 crore to the National Hydrogen Mission with the focus of enhancing the hydrogen production capacity of 5 metric million tonnes by 2030 and the net zero and green commitments of the country,” said Abhijit Barooah, immediate past chairman, CII North East Council.

Hailing the Union Budget, FINER president Bajrang Lohia said that the Union finance minister presented a citizen-centric, growth-oriented budget, which sets the priorities going ahead, aiming at a stable tax regime. “The announcement of laying Rs 2,491 crore for the Northeast Special Infrastructure Development Scheme is a huge relief to the industry fraternity of the region. Under the scheme, 100% central funding is provided to the state governments of the region for the projects of physical infrastructure relating to water supply, power and connectivity enhancing tourism and social infrastructure relating to primary and secondary sectors of education and health,” Lohia said.

“We in the Northeast however do not see any mention of the industrial policy for the Northeast, which expired last year,” Lohia also said.

“The share in private investment in the Northeast has shrunk substantially over the years after the completion of the period of North East Industrial & Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP, 2007). We would hope that the announcement thereof would be there sooner than later,” he said.

Welcoming the budget, the Northeast Advisory Council of FICCI said this budget is a forward-thinking budget that prioritizes inclusive growth.

“The budget takes a comprehensive approach to development, and the proposed investments in key areas like infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare, education, manufacturing, and digitalization are a positive step forward,” said Ranjit Barthakur, chairman of FICCI Northeast Advisory Council.

“The measures proposed to boost the manufacturing sector and increase exports, including tax incentives for domestic value addition and increased investment in research and development, are expected to create a supportive environment for the growth and competitiveness of the manufacturing sector in the region,” Barthakur said.

“This will provide a much-needed boost the competitiveness and help to create a vibrant manufacturing sector,” Barthakur added.

Appreciating the budget initiatives, the Indian Chamber of Commerce North East Regional Council said the budget represents the government’s intent of boosting local industries. m “The budget is one of the most inclusive budgets in recent times which take care from common man to MSME sector and also to large industries,” said Sarat Kumar Jain, chairman of the Assam Chapter of ICC.

“It is growth-oriented and has focused on infrastructure, manufacturing, saving stimulus and at the same addresses the issue of agriculture, education, skill development, public health and had made an attempt for inclusive growth. We believe that this bold and innovative budget will help India to achieve the three trillion economies and a global leader,” Jain said.

Reacting to the Union Budgety, HDFC Banks’ chief economist Abheek Barua said: “The budget recognised that it would have to continue playing the lead role in driving investments in the economy given the rising global risks and only a nascent recovery in the private capex cycle. The capital outlay for 2023-24 was raised to Rs 10 lakh crore, a rise of 33% year on year.”

“The budget also pays heed to the need for fiscal consolidation reducing its fiscal deficit target to 5.9% of GDP in 2023-24 from 6.4% in 2022-23,” Baruah said.

“The resultant lower-than-expected market borrowing number is likely to bring some relief for the bond market. We see the 10-year bond yield to moderate towards 7-7.1% in FY24,” he said.

“The budget also announced adjustments in income tax slabs that are likely to boost consumption and savings in the economy, benefitting taxpayers, particularly at the lower brackets of the income pyramid,” he added.

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