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BJP demands extension of tax sops for HP, Uttrakhand till 2013

Last Updated: Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 23:07

New Delhi: Accusing the Centre of
discriminating against the BJP-ruled states, the opposition
party today demanded that tax exemptions given to Himachal
Pradesh and Uttarakhand should be continued in line with the
other hilly states.

"(The) Government should not discriminate against
opposition-ruled states on political basis. When concessions
were given to four hilly regions, including HP, Uttarakhand,
North-East and Jammu and Kashmir and these states benefited.
It needs to be augmented," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar
told reporters.

The Centre did not extend the Industrial Promotion
Package for Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, that provided
excise and other duty concessions for new projects, beyond
March 31, 2010, despite both the state Chief Ministers and
state leaders of Congress party lobbying for its extension.

Meanwhile, the Himachal Pradesh government today decided
to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to press the UPA regime
for restoration of the special industrial package till 2013.

The state Cabinet met today and decided that an all-party
delegation led by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal would meet
the Prime Minister to press for restoring the package.

Earlier in the week, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh
Pokhriyal Nishank with his Cabinet colleagues met the Prime
Minister and demanded extension of the package up to 2020, if
not possible than at least up to 2013.

Earlier, Congress leaders from Uttarakhand had met UPA
Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to demand extension of the tax
concession package for the state.

The industrial promotion package for Jammu and Kashmir was
extended up to 2012 and for North Eastern states up to 2017,
but it was allowed to lapse for Uttarakhand and Himachal
Pradesh on March 31, 2010.

The Centre had waived off excise duty on investments in
these two states through a notification in 2003 till March 31,
2007. The exemption was later extended till March 31, 2010.
However, there would be no extension to these exemption.

"As of now, there is no extension to these exemption
notifications," spokesman of the Central Board of Excise and
Customs said.

Investments in these two states were exempted from excise
duty as a special case to push growth in the economically
backward regions.

"The demand of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand is just
and right... These states started developing when then
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave them the industrial
concession package. It has generated large scale employment
and deserves to continue," Javadekar added.


First Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 23:07

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