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Revenue dept pitches for closure of export promotion schemes
November, 20th 2006

With special economic zones (SEZs) expected to create a massive Rs 26,000 crore crater in government revenues in 07-08, other export promotion schemes should be prepared to bear the brunt in Budget 07. The revenue department is likely to push for winding up of other export promotion schemes.

Currently, the government has close to 11 export-incentive and promotion schemes including SEZs.Finance minister P Chidambaram has already made it clear that there was a need to review tax exemptions. Mr Chidambaram, who has indicated evolving a moderate tax structure ahead of next Budget, has made it contingent to slashing of sops.

In fact, parliamentarians, cutting across party lines, favoured pruning of sops for SEZs at the meeting of consultative committee attached to the finance ministry. While the revenue department subscribes to the view that duties and taxes should not be exported, it wants the commerce ministry to clear the maze. The plethora of export promotion schemes, excluding SEZs, cost the exchequer a whopping Rs 34,430 crore in 05-06.

Besides being a costly affair for the exchequer, having a large number of export promotion schemes also poses problems in implementation, increasing chances of misuse. With the revenue department holding this view, it is likely that all the existing schemes may be rolled into one. According to revenue department sources, for neutralising the duties, a single scheme with more scientific criterion should be brought in place to prevent any misuse as also to make the implementation easier.

Currently, the schemes aimed at promoting exports in various ways include the duty entitlement passbook scheme, drawback, export promotion capital goods scheme, duty-free import authorisation, advance licence, export-oriented units, Software Technology Park of India and Vishesh Krishi Upaj Yojana.

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