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CEOS expect boost in infrastructure projects in Budget 2006:ABB

By Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) Expectations of the CEOS from the Budget-2006 are riding high, as they expect a major boost to key infrastructure projects, even though they think that the focus of the annual event will be the ''Aam Aadami'' (Common man) in view of the impending assembley elections.

A survey of 200 CEOs across the country by the ASSOCHAM Business Barometer (ABB) brings out clearly that India Inc, is hopeful that Finance Minister P Chidambaram will hike allocations for key infrastructure areas like roads, ports, airports and power.

Infrastructure is perceived both by the industry and the government as the critical constraint to further industrial development.

The government's commitment to this area is obvious from the fact that the committee of infrastructure is headed by none other than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and is being serviced by the Planning Commission.

ASSOCHAM President Anil K Agarwal said, there seems to be an increasing realisation among the economic managers of the government that the GDP growth of eight per cent would become difficult to sustain if the major infrastructure projects like the Rs 170,000 crore Bharat Nirman and the Rs 100,000 crore National Urban Renewal Mission do not take off.

In the Crude oil sector, nearly 60 per cent of the corporate heads felt that while the Rangarajan Committee has come out with a road-map for restructuring the excise and customs in the petroleum sector, the government could find it difficult to go in for a sharp revision of petrol and LPG prices.

They said, the pressure from the supporting Left parties and the coming Assembly elections in Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Assam would surely have a bearing on the Budget.

The Rangarajan Committee has suggested giving oil companies the freedom to fix the prices of petrol and diesel through the trade parity pricing mechanism, reduction in custom duties on petrol and diesel from 10 per cent to 7.5 per cent. It has acknowledged the need to subsidise kerosene for BPL families and increase the price of LPG cylinder by Rs 75.

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