President’s Message

Sometimes, coincidences have a curious way of influencing the Budgetary announcements. Given that the Karnataka Budget for 2021-22 was announced by Hon’ble Chief Minister on International Women’s Day on March 8, women entrepreneurs got a “gift” of soft loans up to Rs 2 crore at 4%, apart from marketing support for their products & services. Even otherwise, we at FKCCI have good reason to be satisfied with the Budget as there were no additional tax levies, and some of our suggestions we had made at the Pre-Budget meet were accepted such as for instance the reintroduction of the Karasamadhana Scheme and provision of venture capital of Rs 100 crore to Start-ups, for which we are grateful to our Hon’ble Chief Minister.

At our Post-Budget interaction with Hon’ble Union Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, we have sought for some changes in the Finance Bill relating to tax deduction on purchase of goods, faceless Appellate Tribunal, capital gains tax exemption, and so on and so forth, among other issues, like announcing a special package for most affected sectors on account of Covid- 19, viz. the Hotel industry, Hospitality, Travels & Tourism and Education. We do hope for some positive development on this count as the FM has assured us of serious consideration of the issues raised by us.

In another positive augury for the future, we have been informed by Hon’ble Home Minister and Karnataka Representative in the GST Council, Sri Basavaraj Bommai, that a slew of reforms will be unleashed in the next two years. At our interaction with him, we complimented the Minister on the Government’s reformist agenda and reiterated that FKCCI will play its role as the brand ambassador of the State in promoting the reforms taken up not only within the country but also overseas and make sure that Karnataka will be the number one State for investments.

FKCCI also has strongly taken up a major issue presently bothering the Trading community viz. the Bill proposed to increase the number of annual paid leave from 30 days to 45 days for employees in the private sector. While the proposal is poorly timed in the context of the economic pandemic, it is also going to severely dent the financial status of thousands of traders and commercial establishments. We do hope that the Hon’ble Labour Minister, Sri Shivaram Hebbar, will reconsider the issue, as per the assurance given to us.

For the State economy to rebound, it is critical that the State empower the MSMEs and eliminate all bottlenecks and hurdles in their progress, such as rising raw material cost, hike in power tariff, unfair property tax rate, and minimum wages ceiling, to mention a few. At a recent interaction meet at FKCCI, Smt. Vinoth Priya IAS, Director, MSME has suggested that FKCCI should conduct Training courses to industrial labour with the support of the government, and her Department would also assist in organizing Vender Development Programs & B2B meetings. She also requested for inputs/training modules from FKCCI to conduct skill Development programmes. We will initiate the preliminary work in this regard in the coming days and hope that this will help us to meet the demand for skilled workforce in industry & trade.