Union Budget evokes mixed reactions

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Hyderabad, Feb 29 (UNI) The Union Budget, presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, today evoked mixed reactions, with many organisations lauding the increase in income tax exemption limit and reduction in Central Sales Tax.

Andhra Pradesh Tax Bar Association Lakshminiwas Sharma welcomed the budget which provided relief and incentives to farmers, common man, women and the elderly. He also lauded the five-year tax holiday given to hospitals and hotels in tier-II and tier-III cities.

Agro Tech Foods Ltd CEO and President Utpal Sengupta lauded the reduction in Central Sales Tax from three per cent to two per cent, stating that it would lead to reduction of procurement prices in certain states.

In a release here, Chartered Accountants Society of Hyderabad described the budget as ''election-oriented'' and lauded the restructuring of the basic income tax exemption slabs, but rued that the budget had not been able to carry its reforms and had not addressed important issues like inflation and slowdown in world economy.

Neuland Labs Vice-President (Corporate and Planning) Saharsh Davuluri, in a statement here, said weighted deduction of 125 per cent for outsourced R and D was a positive step as it would encourage investment in the contract research business, which is the company's future growth driver. He also lauded the reduction of Central sales tax and Customs duty on some bulk drugs.

NetXcell Director Debasis Chatterji, in a release, said increase in excise duty on packaged software from eight per cent to 12 per cent meant bad news for SMEs. Short term capital gain tax of 15 per cent would be a blow to the capital market.

SatNav Technologies Founder and MD Amit Kishore Prasad said the waiver of farmers' interest was not a right step as a ''major chunk of it would be eaten up through the entire delivery system''. He rued that the IT sector was ignored in the budget.

Maytas Infra President Chander Sheel Bansal said the budget was quite positive for the infrastructure industry. He lauded the setting up of Irrigation and Water Resources Finance Corporation as it would mobilise resources for major and minor irrigation projects, and reduction of customs duty on project imports from 7.5 per cent to five per cent.

Priyadarshini Spinning Mills Limited Managing Director Harish Cherukuri said approval of 30 Integrated Textile Parks would encourage cluster development, which would help in reducing lead time and increase utilisation of assets.

Though handloom sector was given a boost with 250 clusters being organised and SITP and TUF had been extended for the 11th plan, it was overall a disappointing budget for organised textiles as there was no major change in policy and incentives, he said.

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