Govt may curb toys, TV import; Push local goods: Report

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As a step to promote domestic manufacturing and value addition, the government may impose import curbs on toys and some electronic goods, such as TV sets, a Times of India report said.

Officials told TOI that even though the move was seen to be part of an offensive against Malaysia for its outbursts on Kashmir, CAA and its reluctance to extradite preacher Zakir Naik , one of the reasons for restrictions was to encourage domestic refining, at least in the short run.

Meanwhile, the Centre is also planning to reduce palm oil dependence and promote the production and use of other edible oils, according to the report.

Quality control order along with tighter standards for manufactured goods, both local and foreign, were already discussed for the toy imports according to TOI's sources. 

The government is looking out to shift a few of the brands to the ‘restricted’ list, especially the leading stores. They also plan to shift some who are stocking Chinese toys in bulk, under the single-brand retail FDI route,  according to TOI's sources.

Of the estimated $700 million (around Rs 4,500 crore) import of just one category of toys, games and sports requisites, during FY19, over $450 million (around Rs 3,200 crore) came from China, data from the commerce department website pointed out.

As for the white goods, especially television sets, several domestic players also rely on cheap imports from China and Southeast Asian countries, the report said.

Since companies, such as Samsung, take advantage of the concessions under the free trade agreements, and import goods from overseas plants, the government is thinking of raising import duty to keep a check on imports. The move is said to have been counter-productive in some cases, the report said.

The import of electrical machinery and equipment, including TV sets, accounted for over 10% of India’s imports during 2018-19 and added up to $52 billion (over Rs 36,000 crore), according to TOI. Its share rose close to 11% with imports valued at over $35 billion (around Rs 25,000 crore), between April and November 2018, the report mentioned.

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