Focus on infrastructure among 12 FICCI suggestions for next Budget

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Representative image
Representative image

New Delhi [India], December 15 (ANI): The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) recommended 12 suggestions for the next year's Union Budget on Monday. The suggestions cover healthcare, banking, education, and infrastructure among other sectors.

Above all, FICCI has pitched for an accelerated pace of infrastructure investments. "National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) is a five-year plan. We should look at front-ending the projects under NIP and try and complete 40-50 per cent of them in the next two years. When the infrastructure sector moves, it pulls along more than 200 other sectors. It is also a key driver of unskilled employment generation," a statement by FICCI read.

For the education sector, the industry body emphasised that higher education institutes and universities in India should be allowed to invest their surpluses/endowment funds in wider asset classes such as equity, alternative investment funds, and investment trusts in addition to the currently permissible instruments such as debt, and debt-related instruments so that they can generate additional revenue. It also suggested the need for an amendment to the Indian Societies and Trust Act to allow for-profit companies to set up educational institutions.

FiCCI has asked the government to spend an extra 0.5 per cent of GDP every year on health for the next five years. It also suggested the launch of "Health Infrastructure Fund and Medical Innovation Fund", besides various tax exemptions to bolster the private infrastructure in healthcare. To incentivise health insurance, skill development and "Medical-value Tourism" are some other key policies it has advocated for.

Also, reforms in Goods and Services Tax (GST) rules have remained among the major agendas in FICCI's Budget recommendations. It has proposed the government to converge the GST rates to three slabs (in line with global standards), centralise GST registration and abolish the anti-profiteering provision in the law.

FICCI believes start-ups in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and other cutting-edge technologies must be incentivised to build an enabling ecosystem. The industry body has also suggested incentivising expenditure on Research and Development to promote innovation. (ANI)