Withdrawal of 100% excise duty exemption to trigger doom

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Gangtok, Apr 3 (UNI) The nascent industrialisation of Sikkim was under by an amendment in the special package that the Centre itself had doled out to the industrialists- North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy.

Union Ministry of Finance had on March 27 notified that the 100 per cent tax exemption given to the industrial units in Northeast region as a special initiative of the promotion package will be withdrawn from April 1.

Instead of the 100 per cent exemption, industrial units in Northeast have been bracket in twelve slabs-with them liable to pay excise duty between 56 perc ent to 15 per cent.

This new notification has superseded the notification No 71 of North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy of 2003 that had been included in the 2007 version.

Expectedly, the industry sector in Sikkim was not happy as bussiness experts opined that the industrialisation will come to a standstill and the existing and proposed industries will 'run away'.

Sikkim Industries Association (SIA), a forum, was formed today during an emergency meeting of the representatives of 13 industrial units to persue the policy makers to restore the status quo.

"The Centre has withdrawn the 100 per cent excise exemption to the industries in Northeast that they had promised us for investing in this region under North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy. "The exemption has been reduced to different slabs'', said G.D.Jalan, Managing Director of Akshay Ispat, representing the newly formed SIA.

Jalan and other industrialists warned that the Centre must address to the new problem or else there will be no taker for industrialisation in this area.

According to the industry sector, power tariff, 100 per cent excise exemption and transport subsidy are the main point of attractions for the industries to come to set up their units in Sikkim. "Even if these there are not there, then I don't think any industry will come," said Jalan.

Though the SIA was exploring to file a writ petition in Sikkim High Court seeking a stay order, Jalan said that this issue must be tackled by the Northeast states as they would be the sufferers in terms of local employment and revenue.

"All industry ministers of Northeast states must come together and represent this issue with the Centre'', he said.

Sikkim has just started reaping the benefits of the NEIIPP with several phrama industries setting up their units generating local employment and other allied benefits. Several more are on the pipeline to start their units in Sikkim because of its good governance, peacefulness and the tax holiday under NEEIPP.

SIA will be meeting again this Sunday to chalk out their line of actions.


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