Petrol, diesel, gold, cigarettes set to be dearer

 Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday raised cess on petrol and diesel by Re 1 per litre, while customs duty on gold was also increased to 12.5 per cent from existing 10 per cent. (PTI Photo)

A large number of items including petrol, diesel, gold, silver, cigarettes, fully-imported cars and split air conditioners (ACs) will become more expensive due to hike in taxes, as proposed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Union Budget for 2019-20.

At the same time, certain items such as electric vehicle components, camera module and charger of mobile phones and set-top boxes will become cheaper.

"Make in India is a cherished goal. In order to provide domestic industry a level-playing field, basic customs duty is being increased on items such as cashew kernels, PVC, Vinyl flooring, tiles, metal fittings, mountings for furniture, and auto parts...etc," Finance Minister said in her Budget Speech.

Sitharaman said exemptions from custom duty on certain electronic items that are now being manufactured in India are being withdrawn.

"Further, end use based exemptions on palm stearin, fatty oils, and exemptions to various kinds of papers are also being withdrawn. To encourage domestic publishing and printing industry, 5 per cent custom duty is being imposed on imported books," she added.

On the customs side, Sitharaman said the Budget proposals are driven with the objectives of securing India's borders, achieving higher domestic value-addition through Make in India, reducing import dependence, protection to the MSME sector, promoting clean energy, curbing non-essential imports and correcting inversions.

She has proposed to increase special additional excise duty and road and infrastructure cess each by Rs 1 a litre on petrol and diesel.

"Crude prices have softened from their highs. This gives me a room to review excise duty and cess on petrol and diesel," she added.

She also proposed to increase custom duty on gold and other precious metals from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent, making the products dearer.

Sitharaman said tobacco products and crude oil attract National Calamity and Contingent duty. "In certain cases, this levy has been contested on the ground that there is no basic excise duty on these items. To address this issue, a nominal basic excise duty is being imposed," she added.

The finance minister has levied excise duty on tobacco products, bidis and cigarettes, depending on the length and type from nil to Rs 10 paisa per thousand to Rs 10 per thousand.

FM has also levied excise duty on hookah, chewing tobacco, jarda scented tobacco, smoking cigarette mixtures and other tobacco products from 0.5-1 per cent.

Customs duty on completely built units of vehicles or fully imported cars will now attract duty of 30 per cent from 25 per cent earlier. Customs duty on auto parts, including oil and petrol filters for engines horns, glass mirrors and locks, have gone up by 2.5-5 per cent.

Customs duty on marble slabs have gone up from 20 per cent earlier to 40 per cent. Indoor and outdoor unit of split system air conditioner will now attract customs duty of 20 per cent against 10 per cent earlier.

Customs duty on ceramic roofing tiles and ceramic flags and pavings, hearth or wall tiles etc have been hiked to 15 per cent from 10 per cent earlier. Imported stainless steel and other alloy steel products will now attract customs duty of 7.5 per cent from 5 per cent earlier.

The finance minister has raised customs duty on charger/ power adapter of CCTV camera/ IP camera, loudspeaker, optical fibre to 15 per cent. Customs duty on digital video recorder (DVR) and network video recorder (NVR) and CCTV camera and IP camera has been increased by 5 per cent to 20 per cent.

To further incentivise e-mobility, she said customs duty is being exempted on certain parts of electric vehicles.

Customs duty is also being exempted on capital goods required for manufacture of specified electronic goods such as camera module and charger of mobile phones and set-top box, which will make the products cheaper.

Import of defence equipment, not manufactured in India, is being exempted from basic customs duty.

"Defence has an immediate requirement of modernisation and upgradation. This is a national priority. For this purpose, import of defence equipment that are not being manufactured in India are being exempted from the basic customs duty," Sitharaman said.

The finance minister also proposed reductions in customs duty on certain raw materials and capital goods.

These include certain inputs of CRGO sheets, amorphous alloy ribbon, ethylene di-chloride, propylene oxide, cobalt matte, naphtha, wool fibres, inputs for manufacture of artificial kidney and disposable sterilised dialyser, and fuels for nuclear power plants.
 

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