Union Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said there would be no more tax-free zones in the country. Tax-free zone status in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand was being withdrawn gradually following opposition by different states, Mukherjee said. Renewal of tax free zone status of Sikkim, which would expire in 2017, would be reviewed on the basis of the socio-economic conditions of the state at that time, he told reporters.

Mukherjee said that instead of tax free zone, the Centre was considering creating special economic zones in backward districts.

In reply to another question, he said, “India cannot remain unaffected by the negative trend in the global market and it is a reality.”

Inaugurating a residential quarter complex and guest house of income tax department, Mukherjee urged IT officials to achieve 10% more collection than the target fixed.

Mukherjee said that the target of income tax collection was fixed at Rs 5,32,000 crore this fiscal as against last year’s Rs 4,46,000 crore.

Commenting on North Bengal, he said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced different projects and the region would witness enormous developments.

He also expressed hope that the tea garden problem would be resolved with state initiative. Border trade would also expand in the region, he said.

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