BJP seeks sops from PM for Himachal, Uttarakhand

New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) Top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Wednesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to urge him to restore excise concessions to the party-ruled hill states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand at least till 2013.

Chairman of BJP parliamentary party L.K. Advani, opposition leader in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and chief ministers of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand Prem Kumar Dhumal and Ramesh Pokhriyal `Nishank’ respectively gave a memorandum to the prime minister.

The memorandum said that the ‘premature termination’ of the excise duty exemption amounted to injustice to the two hill states.

‘The premature termination of the excise duty exemption component of the special incentives package has done great injustice to the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. It is against the legitimate expectation of the states that the incentives packages will continue at least till 2013,’ the memorandum signed by the five leaders said.

It said that the termination of excise concessions had rendered futile the efforts of the states in synchronizing their policies with the special incentives package. ‘It has also rendered the expenditure incurred by the state governments running into hundred of crores of rupees unproductive.’

The memorandum said that the central government gave the two hill states special incentives package in 2003 to boost their industralisation. The package comprised excise duty, income tax concessions and capital investment subsidy to units.

It said while income tax and investment subsidy benefits were available to units commencing production by a certain date, the government did not put any cut off date for excise exemptions in the original notification. However, in 2005 this exemption was restricted to units which commenced production by March 31, 2007.

The three-page memorandum said that following representations from the two state governments, the excise concessions were extended till March 31, 2010.

‘Legislative assemblies of both the states have passed resolutions for the restoration of the industrial package and have requested for the continuation of the same till 2020,’ the memorandum said.

It added that the two chief ministers had repeatedly brought to the notice of the government that since the excise duty exemption benefit as originally notified was without any cut-off date, it should at least continue for units commencing production till March 31, 2013 as the capital investment subsidy was to be available to such units till that date.

‘It is essential that the excise duty exemption component of the special incentives package is restored as originally notified i.e. without any cut-off date or at least allowed till March 31, 2013 for both the states on the anology of the northeastern hill states where similar incentives stand extended till 2017,’ the memorandum said.

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