Expedite establishment of AIIMS, says trade body

‘Complete the project within the next two to three years’

The Central and State governments must expedite the establishment of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Thoppur in Madurai, demanded Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TNCCI), as part of the pre-budget memorandum submitted to the Union finance ministry.

A press release from its president N. Jegatheesan thanked the government for clearing the proposal of setting up AIIMS in Madurai. But the government must take steps to complete the project within the next two to three years with timely allotment of funds.

Madurai airport must be included as a point of call immediately in the bilateral air services agreement with Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Despite repeated representations, Madurai airport had not yet been included as a point of call for any foreign airlines. Though the foreign airlines were convinced about the potential and viability of operating direct flights to Madurai, the lack of agreement proved to be a restraining factor, he said.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it must be ensured that every citizen was covered under affordable medical insurance and to this effect the government could forge a public-private partnership to bolster the medical infrastructure.

Regarding rationalising GST tax rates, Mr. Jegatheesan said higher tax slabs such as 18% and 28% must be scrapped. Tax rates must be limited to three slabs – 5%, 10% and 15%. For luxury goods, 18% tax rate could be fixed.

Essential branded food products must be exempted from tax. Apart from essential services, the tax rates for other services must not exceed 15%.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, all drugs had become life-saving. Hence, the government must grant total tax exemption to all medicines.

A separate set of rules must be framed for vehicle checking, survey, inspection and raids. Payment in cash for on-the-spot penalty or tax should not be permitted.

Representatives of leading trade bodies across the country must be included in the GST Council to understand the requirements of industries, the release added.

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