Assocham seeks tax incentives, infra status for ports in budget

Assocham seeks tax incentives, infra status for ports in budgetNew Delhi: Industry body Assocham has sought tax incentives, market-linked tariff rates and grant of infrastructure status to the port industry in the upcoming budget for turning India's coastline into a growth catalyst.

The industry chamber batted for reduction in customs duty on import of equipment for port projects; exempting port projects from Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) and granting infrastructure status to the port industry.

A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) based-policy to encourage port development and management needs to be carved via BOOT (Build Own Operate Transfer) structures, it said.

Besides, it said that to generate ample private sector interest, there is a need to introduce market-linked tariff rates, noting that port development is bound to act as a propeller for export oriented industries.

Coastal special economic regions (SEZs) /investment regions/ clusters along the lines of Chinese model of coastal development must be incentivized, it said, adding that keeping in mind high income and employment multipliers of the sector, a specialised policy for port-tourism can be carved out.

The industry chamber further advocated establishing India as a Tidal Energy hub to reduce dependence on coal and to meet future energy requirements.

Besides, firms related to other sectors including private security and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have also put forth their suggestions for the upcoming budget.

"The government should strive to create a favourable environment for SMEs ... There is a need for reduction in the lending rates as SMEs continue to pay interest at 19-20 per cent for bank loans.

Delayed payments have been an area of concern for SMEs that contribute to reduced working capital for SMEs," Power2SME CEO R Narayan said.

While observing that the private security industry is a sunrise sector, security company G4S India has proposed measures like increase in FDI limit, simplified taxation policy and categorisation of private security guards as skilled and highly skilled workers under the Minimum Wage Act.

The government reduced foreign direct investment (FDI) limit from the earlier 100 per cent to current 49 per cent by introducing Private Security Agencies Regulation Act (PSAR), it said. (PTI)