CII wants subsidies to be reduced

Written by Charanjit Ahuja | Chandigarh | Updated: Mar 26 2014, 01:30am hrs
Zubin Irani, newly elected Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Northern Region and President, Building and Industrial Systems (India), United Technologies Corporation said here today that the government should reduce the subsidies as percentage of Gross Domestic Product to 1.7 per cent by financial year 2016.

Addressing his maiden press conference as CII northern region chairman, Irani said that the government should evolve ways and means to completely eliminate LPG subsidy by 2017. He said that cutting fertilizer subsidies also merits equal attention. He said that the government should expand the Direct Benefits Transfer scheme through Aadhar to all districts and to benefits for food, kerosene, education, etc. It will be the primary vehicle for subsidy transfer through banks.

When asked that most industry bodies were against continuation of subsidies be that in the farm sector or for certain section of people, he said that the CII view was that there is a need to prioritize the spending on subsidies. Critical sectors like food security do demand subsidies, but it can be withdrawn from other sectors like petroleum etc to bring about a balance.

Zubin Irani refused to comment when asked which state was best to do business amongst the eight states in northern region. He also evaded reply to the question on special concessions to hill states thus not providing a level playing field to other states.

Prior to his first press conference as chairman of CII Northern Region, he gave a detailed presentation on the theme and agenda for 2014-15 for northern region. He spoke about slowdown of domestic growth, inflationary trends and other challenges but hastened to add that economic growth had the potential to rise to eight per cent. He said that contribution of northern region to GDP was 25.6 per cent but it could be more. He lamented that land locked nature of northern states hampered growth to some extent. He talked about focus areas for 2014-15 including development of clusters, to ensure ease to business in northern states, to tap agriculture potential of northern states, development of services sector, Foreign Direct Investmement in multi brand retail, positive governance coupled with sustainability.