Concerned over sluggish growth and poor investment climate, Assocham President Rajkumar Dhoot met Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Thursday and demanded the controversial tax proposal GAAR be put in 'cold storage'.
In his 30-minute meeting with Ahluwalia, Dhoot raised issues like delay in Goods and Services Tax, the introduction of General Anti-Avoidance Rules, high interest rates and financial problems of the SME sector.
"To boost the economy, GAAR which has been doing the rounds for the last few months and has investors worried, should be immediately put in cold storage.
"Secondly, pending projects like Mumbai-Delhi industrial corridor should be immediately given green signal, so that investments start flowing in and boost is given to the economy," Dhoot told reporters after meeting Ahluwalia.
Several other industralists like Mukesh and Anil Ambani, G P Goenka (from Kolkata-based Duncan Group), Vodafone India Chairman Analjit Singh and Chairman of UB Group Vijay Mallya have also met Ahluwalia in recent days.
Following the exit of Pranab Mukherjee, who is contesting Presidential election, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has taken charge of the finance portfolio.
Ahluwalia, who had played a key role in the economic reforms initiated by Singh in 1991, is considered close to the Prime Minister.
Dhoot said Goods and Services Tax needs to be cleared soon.
"GST is a crucial issue.
"Its imposition will help gross domestic product grow (additionally) by two per cent and it should be cleared in the monsoon session (of Parliament)," he added.
On the issue of high interest rates for industries, Dhoot said the RBI should be 'influenced' to reduce the rates immediately and SMEs, who are facing problems in getting loan applications cleared, should also be provided help.
Dhoot also submitted a letter to Ahluwalia which stressed on the need for investment in infrastructure.
"Despite global slowdown, India's infrastructure story is intact.
"The best thing about the Indian infrastructure is that for the next 20-30 years there would always remain a demand for the sectors like power, roads, ports, airports. . .
"We need huge investments and there is a great scope for investment, both public and private. . .The private sector would surely like to get involved in all this," the letter said.