PHDCCI for PPP Mode To Develop Infrastructure In Himachal

Shimla: The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) in a pre-budget memorandum has sought a private public partnership (PPP) model for Himachal to give a thrust to tourism, develop infrastructure and for power distribution.

“Power crunch was a major issue being faced by industrial units in the state. The chamber has recommended privatization of power distribution and implementation of Feeder Renovation Programme (FRP),” says Dhian Chand, Chairman HP committee of PHDCCI’ “This would drastically reduce distribution losses,” he adds.

He has asked the government “to grant infrastructure status to tourism industry as it is one of mainstay economic activity of Himachal that is a major employment generator.”

Other issues towards which the chamber seeks the governments attention are reduction in VAT rates on items of mass consumption, online filing of VAT returns, introduction of feeder renovation programme for reduction in power distribution losses and removal of market committee cess on agricultural produce, said Dhain Chand

The chamber says that the government should go in for the PPP mode to develop roads, airports, tourism properties, destination development, restoration of heritage sites, village tourism, museum upkeep and restoration, development of ski-slopes, mountain trails, beautification of historic sites, development of river and coastal areas, parking areas and tourist amenities.

With a industry status for tourism industry, a policy with lower debt:equity ratio, longer gestation periods, lower interest rates, incentives for early completion of projects and exemption from state taxes should be formulated, says the chamber chairman.

For hassle free movement of tourist transport vehicles across the northern region states the Chamber proposes a single point collection of taxes system. For attracting more airlines the chamber has sought reduction of sales tax on Aviation Turbine Fuel.

On goods of mass consumption, the chamber wants VAT to be reduced from 12.5 to 4 percent. The memorandum mentions that market committee cess levied on agricultural produce purchased from outside the state needed to be removed as it amounted to double taxation and rendered the raw material used by the agro–processing industry as uncompetitive.

To sustain industrial growth beyond the package period, the chamber has asked for allocation of funds in the coming budget for the repair of bridges and roads, development of proper drainage system and proper sewerage system in the states industrial areas.

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