Demands viability gap fund for operating flights and heli-taxi services and GST rate structure to be made quarterly or six monthly basis

New Delhi: Himachal Pradesh Government has asked the Union Government to provide cent per cent tax exemption to industries in the state for first five years and fifty percent for next five years besides making a provision of interest subvention of seven percent for a period of seven years to promote industrial development in the hilly state.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, in a pre-budget meeting of Finance Ministers of all States and Union Territories held at Union Capital, today under the chairmanship of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, demanded subsidy/viability gap fund for operating flights and heli-taxi services on the pattern of north eastern states to Himachal Pradesh for assisting in tourism promotion as well as disaster management.

Jai Ram Thakur said the state had enormous possibilities for expansion of tourism activities and keeping this fact in view, there was need to promote air traffic. He suggested that Union government should make announcement regarding expansion of helipads of all state capitals from central budget besides making budgetary provisions at the centre for expansion/construction of airports in hill states. He added that environment protection would be a priority of the state government.

Thakur suggested reducing the corporate tax rate up to twenty percent for further industrial development. He said that entrepreneurs of the state were denied of the benefits of capital investment subsidy which ended in march 2017 and added that although a special committee was constituted for preparing an extensive industrial policy for hill states yet no announcements have been made so far, keeping this in view, he requested to continue central capital investment subsidy to the state till the new announcements are made. He also urged for restarting Freight Subsidy scheme and reimbursement of transport cost of about Rs five crore at the rate of 75%.

Raise Import Duty on Apple

The Chief Minister also raised the issue of import duty of apple fruit and requested the Union Finance Minister to enhance import duty on apple as was announced in union budget 2018-19 so that interests of the horticulturists of Himachal were protected.

Declare Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line national projects

Jai Ram Thakur also demanded for according priority to expansion and strengthening rail network in the state for improving connectivity. He stressed upon making efforts for constructing Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line besides broadgauging of Pathankot-Jogindernagar rail line. He also requested to declare these projects as national projects keeping in view the strategic importance.

Transfer power to state for environment clearances for hydel projects above 50 MW

The Chief Minister requested transferring power to accord environment clearances for hydel projects above 50 MW to the state government to avoid unnecessary delays. He also requested for enhancing sanctioning powers to state government under FCA ACT -1980 from 1 hectare to 5 hectare under PMGSY to speed up the works. He also requested to include areas above the population of 100 and below 250 under PMGSY to benefit more population in the state.

Chief Minister demanded release of Rs. 289 crore for 111 irrigation projects included under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojna in 2017-18 and added that out of total 338 crore only Rs 49 crore were received so far. He also urged for including Finna Singh and Nadaun Irrigation projects under priority projects of the ministry so that they can be completed by December 2019. He also requested to remove disparity in the wage rates in the tribal and non-tribal areas under MNREGA.

Thakur also urged the Centre to announce Disaster Mitigation Fund in the union budget 2018-19 for the state as it falls under seismic zone IV and V.

GST rules and rate structure to be made quarterly or six monthly basis

Chief Minister jai Ram Thakur, in a 25th GST Council Meeting at Vigyan Bhawan urged to make changes in GST rules and rate structure either on quarterly or six monthly basis depending upon the situation. He said that changes may be notified or made effective from the 1st of the month.

He said that problems of stakeholders should be attended on priority and added that MIS has not been made available on GST Portal to the implementing departments. Therefore, detailed analysis of revenue receipts and taxpayers returns could not be carried out.

The Chief Minister said that appropriate business intelligence tools should be used in IT Solution to enable the system to detect mismatches and tax evasion. He said that the module related to enforcement should be rolled out at the earliest to compliment effective implementation of e-way bill. He requested for early notification of powers relating to full cross empowerment.

Jai Ram Thakur assured the Finance Minister that best efforts would be made to implement GST in smooth and effective manner in the state.