BJP Holds Maiden Pre-budget Talks With Industry Chambers

New Delhi, January 25: | Updated: Jan 26 2003, 05:30am hrs
In a major shift from the past, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is holding pre-budget consultations with the apex industry chambers to play a pro-active role in the governments decisions on economic policies.

Based on these discussions, the party will submit its recommendations on the critical policy issues, to be addressed in the budget, to the government.

As part of this exercise, BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu met a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) delegation headed by its president AC Muthiah on Saturday. The delegation presented Ficcis pre-budget memorandum to Mr Naidu. The BJP president will meet a delegation from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on February 3.

The pre-budget meetings of the apex industry chambers with the BJP president is also significant because finance minister Jaswant Singh has cancelled the customary meetings with various sectional groups this year.

Convenor of the BJPs central economic cell, PN Vijay told FE that apart from the policy issues to be tackled in the Budget, the party will also come out with its suggestions associated with other areas including commerce, industry and labour in coming months.

This will enable the party to play a better role in the governments decision making process, he said, adding, the party wants to play the role of a facilitator in an effective manner.

It may be noted here that the committee set up by the BJP under the chairmanship of party general secretary Rajnath Singh to give suggestions on the Kelkar panels reports on direct and indirect taxes, has already submitted its report to Mr Naidu. The report will soon be submitted to the finance minister. Mr Vijay ruled out any change in the Rajnath committee report before its submission to the finance minister.

The Ficci delegation in its meeting with Mr Naidu and other BJP functionaries, pressed for a reduction in the interest rate and measures for improving the capital market, in the forthcoming budget.

The chamber pointed out that the number of initial public offers (IPOs) have been going down substantially and called for steps to increase capital formation in the country. Among other demands, the chamber asked for simplification of the procedures for mergers and amalgamations, introduction of investment allowance and a Lenders Liability Bill.

The chamber also asked for strengthening of the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) in its present role of development financial institution and speedy implementation of the value-added tax (VAT) regime in the states.

Besides Mr Muthiah, members of the Ficci delegation also included YK Modi, Amit Mitra and P Murari.