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Budget 2014: Social Sector Groups Seek Tax Concession For NGOs

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Representatives of social sector on Thursday (5 June) sought higher budgetary allocation for 2.68 crore for disabled people and tax concessions for NGO from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the forthcoming Union budget.

Jatiley, at a pre-budget consultation in the run-up to Budget 2014, asked the social sector related groups to help the government in taking positive advantage of demographic dividend.

"We may have been implementing the various social sector programmes but there is need to upgrade them and their delivery mechanisms and also provide adequate interventions within the fiscal space available" the Finance Minister said in the meeting.

Jaitley stressed there was need to ensure that the benefits of these programmes reach the poor and marginalised and other weaker sections of the society.

It was his second pre-budget consultation meeting of the day. Earlier in the day, he had met representatives from the agriculture sector.

The Finance Minister would be presenting the general Budget early next month.

He is scheduled to hold similar consultations with industry and trade groups on Friday (6 June).

Major suggestions made by the social groups include higher budgetary allocation in General Budget 2014-215 for 2.68 crore disabled people and simplification of procedures for seeking grants and their timely release.

They sought government help in making NGOs, especially welfare NGOs self-sustainable and financially viable by giving certain tax concessions and allowing creation of corpus fund among others.

Other suggestions include higher allocation to promote use of renewable energy especially solar and wind energy, focus on making a roadmap for replacing kerosene and diesel by renewable energy wherever possible and creation of National Green Energy Fund among others.

Representatives of different social sector groups who participated in meeting included Binju Abraham of PRADAN, Sandeep Pandey of ASHA, M P Vasimalai of DHAN, Vinatha M Reddy of GRAMEEN KOOTA, D R Mehta of Jaipur Foot and Mathew Cherian of HELPAGE.

Other suggestions made during the meeting include focus on financial inclusion by setting-up of a SPV by public sector banks, universalise the pension for all the poor, extension of Rashtriya Swasthaya Beema Yojana to all the districts in the country and setting-up of old age home in each district.

They also recommended setting-up of National Nutrition Mission and creation of a Dalit Fund to encourage any innovative activity undertaken by a SC/ST person.

A Finance Ministry further said other suggestions by social groups include adoption and implementation of the National Competition Policy, enactment and implementation of the Public Procurement Act and the National Procurement Policy.