Industry Body Assocham appeals to Parliamentarians to Pass Six Key Bills in Winter Session

New Delhi: Apex industry body ASSOCHAM has called on all concerned stakeholders including the opposition to build consensus for prioritization of passing six key bills viz., DTC, GST, Insurance Laws (Amendment), Coal Mines (Nationalization) Amendment, Higher Education and Research and National Commission for Heritage Sites during the upcoming Winter Session of the Parliament.

“There is an urgent need to support UPA government’s efforts to legislate aforesaid key bills vis-à-vis social development and economic security in national interest and to further accelerate the positive momentum gradually taking ground in our economy,” said Mr Rana Kapoor, president of The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) in a note submitted to the centre and key stakeholders.

The ASSOCHAM would also be holding group interactive sessions with the Parliamentarians in this regard.

“The DTC can enhance economic efficiency of India’s tax system and increase tax-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio by providing stability in tax regime based on well accepted principles of taxation and best international practices,” said The ASSOCHAM chief while highlighting that passage of the Direct Taxes Code Bill, 2010 would help India develop an effective and equitable taxation system by consolidating all laws related to income-tax and wealth-tax.

Passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) can boost India’s exports by three to six per cent and contribute about 1-1.5 per cent growth in the GDP, highlighted the ASSOCHAM note.

“The GST will rationalize multiple tax regimes into a single and simplified nationwide indirect tax system for services rendered or goods produced,” said Mr Kapoor. “This will incentivize efficient allocation of resources for economic activity and enhance competitiveness of Indian business.”

ASSOCHAM believes that Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill 2008, would raise the foreign direct investment (FDI) cap for insurance sector from the existing 26 per cent to 49 per cent.

“The insurance industry needs capital infusion worth about $12 billion during the course of next three to five years and liberalized FDI limits provide new avenues to raise capital,” said the ASSOCHAM president. “The classification of health insurance as a new line of business, relaxed capital norms for a health insurance company and allowing life insurance companies to provide health cover can give a fillip to growth of this sector.”

Considering that shortfall in coal supply for the current financial year is expected to be 75 million tons (MT), ASSOCHAM has advocated for passage of the Coal Mines (Nationalization) Amendment Bill, 2000 as liberalization of sector norms would allow private players to participate in non-captive production and coal supply.

“This can effectively complement capabilities of the state behemoth-Coal India Limited, besides the coal imports estimated at 30 MT for current fiscal can also be offset by private sector access to domestic coal resources,” said Mr Kapoor.

With a view to achieve the national target for Gross Enrollment Ratio of 30 per cent in higher education by 2020, ASSOCHAM has highlighted the need to pass the pending Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011. “There is a need for nationwide concerted efforts to improve higher education infrastructure and delivery mechanism possible through aegis of a unified national regulator for higher education.”

On the issue of National Commission for Heritage Sites Bill 2009, the ASSOCHAM chief said, “Concerted attempts to promote these places of interest would attract higher tourist footfalls and can entail projected investments worth Rs 37,000 crore during 2012-17 in the tourism and allied sectors leading to sustainable growth and employment generation.”

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