Unresolved issues in W Bengal

Updated: Nov 14 2005, 06:11am hrs
Thanks to Vat, industry representatives in West Bengal expect the state to benefit from smoother inter state trade.

Dipankar Chatterjee, former president, CII, eastern region, says, Excepting coal, the state has limited mineral resources. Free trade will help. But the recent spat with Jharkhand on iron ore led to demand for effective policy implementation. CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee expressed displeasure after the Sajjan Jindal group decided to shift its Rs 35,000-crore steel project to Jharkhand.

If we are forced to provide coal to other states, why are they not forced to do the same asked Mr Bhattacharjee.

The state no longer levies octroi or luxury taxes. But Mahesh Singhania, chairman, federation of West Bengal traders association, says some issues still need resolution. One is the way bills are issued by the state sales tax department to import goods from other states, which involves speed money and bureaucratic delays.

Two, products under the industrial inputs category still dont have a uniform Vat rate. Khokan Mukherjee, secretary general, Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, feels that special taxes and duties are sometimes required for self-sufficiency, though they should not create a prohibitive environment. He adds that eventually, states would have to do away with all trade barriers to become active participants in the global economy.