Budget evokes mixed reactions in TN

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Chennai, Feb 29 (UNI) The Union Budget 2008-2009 has attracted mixed reaction from chambers and business houses, representing various sectors in Tamil Nadu.

The reactions especially from the chambers, including Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) and Federation of Indian Export Organistion (FIEO) have ranged from 'good' to 'lukewarm'.

Responding to the budget proposals, Mr P K Mohapatra, Chairman, CII, (Southern Region) said the manufacturing and services sector was happy with the overall announcements.

''The intention to bring down the CENVAT from 16 to 14 per cent and the CST down to two per cent by next year and replacing the CST with GST by 2010 are the major three steps in right direction,'' he added.

SICCI Vice President and Murugappa Group Vice Chairman A Vellayan expressed concern over the waiving of farmer loans, which would cost the bank Rs 60,000 crore.

''Union Minister P Chidambaram, in his Budget speech, did not mention how the government would compensate the banks in the wake of loan waiver. We have to wait and see the impact,'' he observed.

However, Mr Vellayan appreciated the initatives taken in the Budget to give a facelift to tourism and health sectors.

FIEO Vice President (Southern Regional Chairman) A Sakthivel said the budget was aimed at an all-inclusive growth of Indian economy by targeting agriculture, education, health and infrastructure.

General Motors India Managing Director Karl Slym in a release here said ''the industry expected a reduction in excise duties for all cars, which has not happened. The automotive industry is one of the growth drivers of the economy. As such, deduction of excise duty for all cars would have generated increased sales, thereby contributing to the exchequer.'' MORE UNI SNR JJ 1725

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