Northeastern states ask for effective industrial policy

Agartala, Sep 30 (Calcutta Tube) The northeastern states have sought a time-bound and assured incentive package from the central government for industrial development in the region, Tripura Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury said here Thursday.

The demand was raised by the northeast industries and commerce ministers in separate meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma in New Delhi Tuesday.

The incentive package scheme under the North East Industrial Policy (NEIP), 1997, which was announced by the central government for the northeastern states, was re-introduced as the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP), 2007.

The NEIIPP covers the eight northeastern states and extends benefits to the service, bio-technology and power generation sectors up to 10 MW.

The policy offered various sops, including 30 percent capital investment subsidy without any ceiling, 100 percent comprehensive insurance subsidy on capital investment and 100 percent excise duty and income tax exemption.

‘During the past three years, the finance ministry and the department of industrial policy have withdrawn many facilities and concessions. Transport subsidy has also largely reduced,’ Chowdhury told reporters after returning from New Delhi.

‘The similar facilities incorporated in the NEIIPP, also extends to Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and other states. As a result, those industrialists and investors willing to invest in the northeast region are turning away to mainland states,’ he added.

The minister said that through various circulars and notifications, the various provisions of the NEIIPP were either made tougher or non-serious.

According to him, the union finance ministry had diluted the 100 percent excise duty exemption enunciated in the NEIIPP by curtailing it substantially and restricting it only to value addition of the raw materials, besides imposition of MAT (Minimum Alternate Tax) and levying of full income tax on incentives and subsidies.

‘All these central government steps have adversely affected the industrial backing in the northeastern region,’ Chowdhury said.

‘The prime minister and other central ministers assured us that our demands will be looked into and appropriate steps taken,’ he added.

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