India Inc presses for cut in excise, customs to boost growth

India Inc presses for cut in excise, customs to boost growth New Delhi: Pitching for an investor-friendly budget to boost sagging growth, industry representatives Friday demanded that Finance Minister P Chidambaram cut excise and customs duty and put in place a stable direct tax regime.

The industry also raised concerns on the taxation of higher income individuals and opposed the introduction of inheritance tax in the budget.

"We have concerns on taxation of higher income. Tax rates should be stable. They (government) should not do anything that will disturb the savings rate... By putting inheritance tax we'll bite into savings of citizens," Senior Vice President of Ficci Siddharth Birla told reporters at a conference here.

The industry demanded roll out of Goods and Services Tax (GST) at the earliest and also asked the government cut subsidies and pursue the path of fiscal consolidation.

"Stable fiscal and regulatory regime must. Policymakers should think on these lines seriously. A subsidy sharing mechanism (for oil companies) has to be put in place," RS Sharma, Chairman of Ficci Hydrocarbons committee said.

Besides, Ficci President Naina Lal Kidwai pitched for more capital to be made available to the banking sector and further expansion of banking services.

"Banking sector has to be larger whether it is through existing banks expanding operations or new banks coming in...More capital has to be made available to banking sector," Ficci President Naina Lal Kidwai said.

As per a recent survey conducted by the industry body released Friday, 77 percent of the respondents felt that the current business environment in the country was not favourable for capacity expansion.

The survey also found that investing outside India by the Indian industry was easier and better than undertaking investments within the country.

Moreover, 90 percent of the respondents believed that a cut in the interest rates was essential to give an impetus to investments. The survey was conducted before the Reserve Bank slashed repo and Cash Reserve Ratio rates by 0.25 percent last week.