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Finance Ministry initiates pre-Budget consultations
September, 18th 2006
Wants demands to be supplemented with statistics A calibrated approach to customs duty reduction, early implementation of goods and service tax (GST) and reduction in cenvat duty to spur demand are some of the suggestions that may form part of the apex industry associations' pre-budget memorandums to the Government for Budget 2007-08. The Finance Ministry has initiated pre-budget consultations with industry for Budget 2007-08. Apex industry associations have been asked to submit their pre-budget suggestions on the direct and indirect taxes by October 15. Sources said that pre-budget suggestions have been invited somewhat early this year, as the Finance Ministry wants sufficient time to examine them in a detailed manner. Industry associations have been asked to supplement their suggestions with detailed statistical information and also their revenue implications. With less than six months to go before the budget for 2007-08 is to be presented to Parliament, industry associations appear to be somewhat divided on the roadmap for customs duty reduction. While some apex industry associations may favour further reduction in peak rate of customs duty from existing 15 per cent, indications are that some of them may even prefer status quo on the peak customs duty front. Industry associations have been maintaining that the objective of customs policy should be to stimulate economic and industrial activity and give due protection to the domestic industry. The domestic industry wants customs tariffs to be set after taking into consideration all non-cenvatable indirect taxes and local levies that reduce the level of protection to domestic industries. Apart from suggesting a calibrated approach to customs duty reduction, industry associations may also highlight, in their pre-budget suggestions, issues relating to the impact of free trade agreements (entered into by India) on the domestic industry. Excise policy On excise duty, which is the single largest contributor of revenue to the Government, the industry is of the view that the excise policy should stimulate demand. It is expected that industry would this year too demand reduction in cenvat duty from the current level of 16 per cent. India Inc has been contending that the combined incidence of central and State levies in India comes to about 35 per cent. This, according to the industry, is the prime reason for restricted market growth and lesser compliance.
 
 
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