Despite the talks about a recession, industries in Kerala are growing. and there is tremendous potential for growth over the next 10 years, according to Kerala-based industrialist Anoob VE. His firm, Periyar Polymers, manufactures mattresses in Edayar.
But it is still not a picture-perfect situation for small industries in ‘God’s own country.’ The State has acknowledged that the scope for large industries to operate within is limited. Anoob now feels that Kerala should focus on attracting non-polluting industries and wants the government to look at bio-technology (BT) and food-based industries, alongside its focus on the information technology (IT) sector.
Kerala needs “organised industrial parks, which are some distance away from residential zones. Industries are scattered (across the State) at the moment,” added Anoob, also the treasurer of Kerala State Small Industries Association’s (KSSIA) Ernakulam chapter.
SupportBiz also met with the KSSIA Ernakulam unit’s president Shaji Sebastian on February 17. Sebastian runs an electrical manufacturing unit, Ess Jay Electrolinks, in Kalamassery.
Elaborating on the State’s Budget wish list, Sebastian said the Oommen Chandy government could bestow property transfer / mortgage rights to entrepreneurs who own land within industrial estates. This could aid in rapid development of the industrial estates.
At the State level, Kerala wants a uniform tax structure, at four percent, be imposed for the entire small industries sector, according to Sebastian. In his Budget request to the Union Government, he mentions the swift implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) and urges the Centre to tap into Kerala’s vast thorium deposits and afford nuclear power to the State.
“GST makes it easier for industrialists to do business because it eliminates a host of taxes like central sales tax (CST), State value added tax or VAT, secondary school cess, higher secondary school cess and the cess on State VAT. Some States levy an entry tax for goods that will go too,” said Anoob.
Sebastian also wants the State to extend incentives given to industrial electricity distribution. The ‘minimum guarantee’ scheme that recovers the cost of a implementing a new connection over a seven-year period, should be extended, he opined.
On taxation, the current electronic procedure of filing sales tax returns does not allow one to make revisions until after a year. This system should permit tax assesses to make revisions within a year of filing returns, Sebastian said.
The State Pollution Control Board (PCB) should simplify its processes and subsidy schemes could be enhanced, Sebastian mentioned. Inspection of goods trucks on highways should be restricted to only the very essential situations, he said. Lastly, he requests that ESI and PF be made optional and that “unnecessary harassment (by authorities) be avoided.”