GUWAHATI: Finance ministry on June 11 convened a meeting with Union Minister Nirmala Sitaraman in chair and was attended by Anurag Thakur, MoS Finance, Secretary Finance, Chief economic Adviser, CBDT Chairman, other secretaries and top Dy Governor RBI, Chairman of SBI, Chairmen of other PSU and private sector banks and financial institutions and other dignitaries. On invitation of the ministry, was represented by Sandeep Khaitan, FINER Director. He took the opportunity to highlight that the region still has a long way to go in accessing basic banking requirements of people and more specifically the MSMEs and first generation entrepreneurs that form the bulk of FINER’s membership network and industry as a whole. He submitted that senior officials of PSU Banks posted in the region need to be given adequate empowerment and delegation to make decisions without which there remains a huge gap in financing needs of local enterprises. He submitted that Northeast should not be a place for meting out punishment postings. It was emphasized that a robust Banking sector in the region can provide practical solutions to tackle the sluggish investment scenario and gradually pave the way for development of capital markets, bond markets and other derivatives. Khaitan also pointed out that despite a clear policy framework, industries’ claims for CGST/ IGST refunds remain unsettled for more than one and half years and he hoped that the new Finance Minister would look into the inadequacies in the mechanism. He raised the issue of Tax Terrorism impacting private sector confidence and investments, and pleaded for more growth oriented policies which could spur private sector investments. He raised the specific issue of companies in the North East being forced to be non compliant, as they were being unable to find full time company secretaries in service in absence of adequate qualified members. The Finance Minister gave a patient hearing and appeared to be in agreement on the critical issues affecting the NE.
Earlier, Union Ministry of Finance and Corporate Affairs had sought suggestions from industry associations on proposed changes in the Tax structures. FINER submitted a detailed memorandum suggesting various changes in Direct and Indirect Taxes. Concrete suggestions have also been submitted for providing adequate budgets for North East Industrial Development Scheme and large investments in infrastructure sector. Modifications in tax structures have been suggested to suit the middle class and small businesses that would encourage consumer spending, stated a press release.