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Govt may not hike indirect tax rates
January, 21st 2013

Keen to give a stimulus to India Inc as it tries to revive the investment cycle, the government is considering a proposal to continue with the current rates of service tax and excise duty of 12 per cent.

“There is a clear need to give some kind of boost, even if it is in terms of improving sentiments, in order to revive industrial activity. Not burdening them with additional or higher taxes could be one solution,” said a person close to the development, adding that a final decision would be taken close to the Budget 2013-14.

Industrial production dipped by 0.1 per cent in November with poor performance by manufacturing, metal and capital goods sector and once again raised hopes for an interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India.

The Indian economy is expected to clock a mere six per cent growth this fiscal and the government has been striving to revive the manufacturing sector, which is a key contributor to growth.

The issue was also raised by industry chambers last week at a pre-Budget meeting with finance minister P Chidambaram, where they suggested that indirect tax rates should not be tinkered with as it would impact manufacturing.
The finance ministry was understood to be considering hiking rates of service tax and excise duty by 2 per cent to 14 per cent, to earn additional revenue to plug the fiscal deficit.

But this would mean bringing excise duty rates back to the pre-crisis level of 14 per cent,

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