Cellphones, cigars to be costlier

Cellphones, cigars to be costlier
Mobile phones, cigarettes and pan masala will cost more, but the cost of digital payments, e-ticketing and LNG will come down as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday tweaked certain customs and excise duties in the Budget for 2017-18.

Tickets bought through the website of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will be cheaper. To encourage cashless payments, service charge on e-tickets booked through IRCTC was proposed to be withdrawn.

Ahead of a forthcoming levy of sin tax in the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Jaitley proposed to increase excise duty on non-filter cigarettes of a length not exceeding 65 mm to Rs 311 per 1,000 from Rs 215 per 1,000.

He almost doubled the excise duty on non-manufactured tobacco to 8.3% from the current 4.2%. Excise duty on pan masala having tobacco was proposed to be hiked to 9% from the existing 6%.

The comparatively cheaper LED lights will cost more as some parts used for manufacturing them will attract a basic customs duty of 5%. Customs duty on printed circuit boards for manufacturing mobile phones will be hiked to 2% from a nil tax regime earlier, making mobile phones costlier.

But customs duty on liquefied natural gas (LNG) is proposed to be reduced to 2.5% from 5%. Levy on point-of-sale (POS) machines and iris readers will be reduced to encourage digital payments.

However, there was not much tinkering in the excise duty and service tax owing to a likely implementation of the GST in September.
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