The finance ministry has cleared arrears of excise and sales tax refund for Rs 500 crore to exporters, pending in some cases for over a year. Commerce department officials said the amount would be disbursed soon. The move is being viewed as one of the measures taken by the government to ease the burden of the appreciating rupee faced by exporters.
The relief package for exporters being worked out by the government is also expected soon, sources said. Finance minister P Chidambaram and RBI governor YV Reddy met on Tuesday to discuss the package. The package which is to include a rise in the rate of reimbursement of input taxes to exporters among other measures is being designed to partially bail out exporters whose profit realisation has been declining with the appreciation in the value of the rupee. The rupee has appreciated by an estimated 12% since March.
The official sources said while the government owed the refund money to exporters, the finance ministry has, in the past, taken longer to clear the dues. By clearing the arrears, the government has not gone out of its way to help exporters. However, the fact that the finance ministry has taken cognisance of the tight spot exporters are in and has released the amount has to be appreciated, an official said.