Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 1
The Union Budget has proposed measures that would make India more protectionist in order to promote make-in-India manufacturing. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed doubling of Customs duty from 10 per cent to 20 per cent on a wide range of tableware and kitchenware as well as on fans, grinders and mixers, water heaters, toasters, coffee-makers and several stationery items.
However, the biggest import duty hike is on toys where the cess will be tripled from 20 per cent to 60 per cent.
Though the Budget has proposed a reduction in Customs duty from 10 to 5 per cent for newsprint as for uncoated paper, it has hiked duty on footwear and several items in the electronics sector. The tool of a health cess of 5 per cent has been imposed on the import of medical devices, but all inputs or parts used in their manufacture will be exempted from the cess whose proceeds will be used for financing health infrastructure and services, most likely to bridge the viability gap in public-private partnership
projects. The Budget has toughened import procedures, such as by introducing a new section that allows for time- bound verification from exporting country in case of doubt about imports.
The clause for prevention of injury to the country’s economy by uncontrolled import/ export of gold or silver is being amended to include “any other goods” so that the government can bar their import anytime.
In case of a surge in imports of a commodity, the Budget proposes provisions for application of safeguard measures such as tariff rate quota. Changes are also being made in rules to strengthen the anti-circumvention measures by making them more comprehensive and wider in scope to take care of all types of circumventions of anti-dumping duty. At the same time,
the government has weeded out 80 Customs exemptions that are redundant, outdated or have out lived utility.