Excise Duty on Mobile Handsets to be Restructured

     Customs Duty Structure to be Rationalised to Encourage Production of Soaps and Oleo Chemicals

     Relief to the Manufacturing Sector; Cars and Scooters to be Cheaper

     Production of Security Paper for Printing Currency Notes also Gets Encouragement

The Union Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram has announced some changes in Indirect Tax Rates. Presenting the Interim Budget 2014-15 in Parliament on 17 February, he said that keeping with the conventions, he does not propose to make any announcements regarding changes to the Tax Laws. However, the current economic situation demands some interventions that cannot wait for the regular budget.

In particular, the manufacturing sector needs an immediate boost. Hence, P. Chidambaram proposed the following changes in some Indirect Tax Rates:

1. To stimulate growth in the capital goods and consumer non-durables, P. Chidambaram proposed to reduce the excise duty from 12% to 10% on all goods falling under Chapter 84 and 85 of the schedule to the Central Excise Tariff Act for the period upto 30.06.2014. The rates can be reviewed at the time of the regular budget.

2. To give relief to the automobile industry which is registering unprecedented negative growth, the Finance Minister proposed to reduce the excise duty as follows for the period upto 30.06.2014:

(i) Small cars, motorcycles, scooters and commercial vehicles

from 12% to 8%

(ii) SUVs

from 30% to 24%

(iii) Large & Mid-segment Cars

from 27/24% to 24/20%

Accordingly, Chidambaram proposed to make appropriate reductions in the excise duty on chassis and trailers.

3. To encourage domestic production of mobile handsets and reduce the dependence on imports, the Finance Minister has proposed to restructure the excise duties for all categories of mobile handsets. The rates will be 6% with CENVAT credit or 1% without CENVAT credit.

4. To encourage domestic production of soaps and oleo chemicals, P. Chidambaram proposed to rationalize the customs duty structure on nonedible grade industrial oils and its fractions, fatty acids and fatty alcohols at 7.5%.

5. To encourage domestic production of specified road construction machinery, the Finance Minister proposed to withdraw the exemption from CVD on similar imported machinery.

6. To encourage indigenous production of security paper for printing currency notes, the Interim Budget proposes to provide a concessional customs duty of 5% on capital goods imported by the Bank Note Paper Mill India Pvt. Ltd.