Centre raises import duty on telecom components

The Centre has raised customs duty up to 20% on mobile phone parts, telephone equipment and components as part of its step to check dollar outflow on non-essential imports that were widening trade and current account deficits.

The items on which the import duty has been doubled to 20% include base stations, optical transport equipment, a combination of one or more of Packet Optical Transport Product or Switch, Optical Transport Network products and IP radios, the Central Board of Direct Taxes said.

In addition, it has imposed new customs duty on a number of telecom products that attracted zero duty until now. Printed circuit boards for several electronic goods are also among them.
The move will be effective from Friday morning and help the exchequer save up to 5 billion dollars.

The country imported $22 billion worth of telecom equipment in 2017-18 which were $6 billion more than the previous year’s imports.

Late last month, the Centre had hiked import duty an as many as 19 items, including air-conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, footwear and jewellery. It had also imposed import duty on aviation turbine fuel.

Officials said the move will boost the Make in India initiative and increase job opportunities. They said since the government cannot stem the oil import bill of close to $90 billion every year, it has to look for other avenues.

India’s trade deficit in the April-August period crossed $80 billion from close to $70 billion in the same period last year. The rise in trade and current account deficits are exerting pressure on the rupee.

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Centre raises import duty on telecom components

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