Kochi, Feb 1 (PTI) An Industry body in Kerala today hailed the focus of the budget on infrastructure, agriculture, education and health, saying it would in the long run foster the growth of these sectors. Also Read - Cyclone Burevi Likely to Make Landfall on Kerala, Tamil Nadu Coast at Midnight

The Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, however, said the tax proposals announced by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the budget were far below expectations. Also Read - Cyclone Burevi Races Towards Tamil Nadu, Kerala; to Make Landfall in Sri Lanka Today

“There have been no reductions in personal income tax rates which is disappointing. The reduction in corporate tax announced is far from satisfactory as it will benefit only MSMEs with turnover of Rs 250 crore,” the Chamber said in a release here. Also Read - Kerala Govt Decides to Bring Out Ordinance to Withdraw Amendment to Kerala Police Act

Reacting to the budget, T S Kalyanaraman, Chairman and Managing Director, Kalyan Jewellers said the estimated growth of GDP to 7.2-7.5 per cent in the second half of 2018 should help boost consumer demand and give a positive momentum to gold and jewellery sales.

“The issue of import duty on gold has not been addressed in the budget, and we hope that it is considered to give a fillip to the domestic industry,” he said in a statement here.

Yusuffali MA, Chairman Lulu Group said the budget presented by Jaitley was very encouraging and growth-oriented one with more emphasis given on rural and infrastructure development.

In a statement, he said one of the most game-changing policies announced recently by the Modi government has been about treating all NRI investments as Domestic investment.

This has thrown open many new investment opportunities for NRIs, especially from the Gulf region, who have always wanted to invest back in India and be an active partner in country s growth, he said.

“Though there is no mention about NRIs in this budget, I hope the government will come up with proposals or initiatives to leverage the potential of NRIs to invest more in India by way of introducing transparent plans and hassle free procedures,” Yusuffali said.

V K Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist, Geojit Financial services said the budget with political overtones was certainly not a populist budget.

“Fiscal slippage in FY 2018 to 3.5 per cent from the target of 3.2 per cent and the 10 per cent tax on Long Term Capital Gains (LTCG) are negatives from the market perspective,” he said in a statement here.

From the market perspective, the retention of Securities Transaction Tax while introducing LTCG is a bit disappointing, but not worrisome, he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.