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Exempt set-top boxes from 5% customs duty
January, 28th 2010

Industry body Assocham has urged Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to withdraw the 5 per cent customs duty on set-top boxes (STBs) in the forthcoming Budget to encourage digitisation in the broadcasting sector.

"This is aimed at providing support to the direct-to-home (DTH) industry and advance objectives of digitisation," the chamber said in a pre-Budget memorandum.

Assocham said customs duty on STBs was exempted in 2006 to provide impetus to industries involved in digitisation of TV services like DTH, IPTV and digital cable. But this was reimposed in the last Budget, it said.

DTH companies offer STBs at subsidised prices to the consumers. The companies are estimated to pay USD 24-50 per STB, including the cost of smart cards. But last year when the government imposed 5 per cent custom duty, these firms had passed on the burden to consumers.

Assocham President Swati Piramal said, by supporting DTH, which use set-top boxes, digitalisation can be achieved in the entire country in a transparent manner and in the shortest possible time.

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