FICCI bats against subsidies, calling these bad for the country

Written by Charanjit Ahuja | Chandigarh | Updated: May 8 2013, 21:53pm hrs
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Secretary General, Dr. A.Didar Singh said here today that all subsidies are bad for the country.

The end result is inflation and a fiscal imbalance, he said. While we support direct transfer of cash subsidy, measures to bring in efficiency and transparency, the need is to provide more employment, upgrade skills and education for all, Dr. Singh said. For record, the total quantum of subsidies has by now risen to a level of 14 per cent of gross domestic product.

Interestingly while, FICCI Secretary General spoke against subsidies regime with a rider that at a particular time, one has to look to the bottom of pyramid, the recently appointed Chairman of FICCIs Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh advisory council, which has been set up to guide its activities in these states minced no words in supporting subsidies.

Where is the subsidy in Punjab he retorted. However, the fact is that in addition to free power to farm sector, free power supply up to 200 units per month is also being given to about five lakh BPL and 18 lakh SC families in the state. During 2012-13 the subsidy bill of Punjab government on account of free power alone came to a whopping Rs 5,471.78 crore including interest on delayed payment of subsidy (Rs 133.58 crore) and interest on unpaid amount of subsidy (Rs 273.88 crore).

When asked what ails Punjab as many industrial units had set up new units in other states including his own Trident Groups new unit in Madhya Pradesh, Gupta said that Punjab was doing very well. He also justified high cost of land in Punjab saying that land costs were rising everywhere and also cost difference in land would mean only 1 to 2 per cent rise in total project cost . Recipient of Padma Shri Award, Rajinder Gupta is presently serving as the vice-chairman Punjab State Planning Board and is attached with Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, for advising on matters related to government reforms, employment, skill development, technical education, industrial investment and Infrastructure. He is also member of Indian Advisory Council, Madhya Pradesh.

The Secretary General of FICCI when asked about FICCI agenda for this region said that four pronged vertical strategy was needed for agri food processing, manufacturing, textiles and tourism sector. He said that FICCI had so far been functioning through different chambers in different states but now there was a discernible shift towards states and FICCI had formed 18 state councils to reach out to entire nook and corner in the country.