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Cigarettes, tobacco, mobiles assembled in India to turn dearer

New Delhi: Smokers and tobacco consumers will have to pay more for their indulgence as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley continued with the crackdown on cigarettes, bidis and tobacco products by increasing taxes in the Budget 2017-18.

Besides, mobile phones and LED lights assembled in India will also become dearer with the finance minister increasing duties on imported printed circuit boards and components respectively.

Jaitley, however, made an attempt to make it more affordable for clean energy sources by cutting duties on solar tempered glass, fuel cell based power generating systems and wind operated energy generator.

With the expected implementation of GST, large scale tinkering of tax structure has been avoided in the Budget thereby sparing most of the commonly used daily items from price changes.

“Implementation of GST is likely to bring more taxes to both central and state governments because of widening of tax net. I have preferred not to make many changes in current regime of Excise and Service Tax because the same are to be replaced by GST soon,” Jaitley said while presenting the Budget.

Yet, tobacco and cigarettes have not been spared.

Excise duty on unmanufactured tobacco has been almost doubled to 8.3 per cent from 4.2 per cent earlier, while that on pan masala has been hiked to 9 per cent from 6 per cent.

Likewise, excise duty on cigar, cheroots has been changed to 12.5 per cent or Rs 4,006 per thousand, whichever is higher from 12.5 per cent or Rs 3,755 per thousand, whichever is higher. Excise duty on chewing tobacco, including filter khaini and jarda scented tobacco has also been doubled to 12 per cent from 6 per cent earlier.

Excise on paper-rolled handmade bidis has been increased to Rs 28 per thousand from from Rs 21 per thousand and the same for paper rolled biris has gone up from Rs 21 per thousand to Rs 78 per thousand.

Populated Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) for use in the manufacturing of mobile phones, subject to actual user condition will also attract SAD of 2 per cent from nil earlier.

Similarly, parts used for manufacturing of LED lights will attract basic customs duty 5 per cent and CVD of 6 per cent from nil earlier.

As per the Budget announcement, imported cashew nut (roasted, salted or roasted and salted) will also become dearer as basic customs duty on the item has been hiked to 45 per cent from 30 per cent earlier.

Imported silver medallion, silver coins, having silver content not below 99.9 per cent, semi-manufactured form of silver and articles of silver will also be dearer as there items will now attract CVD of 12.5 per cent from nil earlier.

Jaitley has made a few announcements in the Budget that will help consumers.

Railway travel with e-tickets booked through IRCTC will become cheaper as service charge on it has been withdrawn.

RO water purifiers are likely to be slightly cheaper with basic customs duty on imported membrane sheet and tricot/ spacer for use in the manufacture of RO membrane element for household filters has been reduced from 12.5 per cent to 6 per cent.

However, with a view to encourage domestic production of RO membrane element, the government has hiked basic customs duty on it to 10 per cent from 7.5 per cent earlier.

Customs duty of LNG has been halved to 2.5 per cent which can lead to lower power and fertiliser costs.

With an eye on promoting clean energy source, the government has reduced basic customs duty on solar tempered glass used in solar panels from 5 per cent to nil.

Likewise, the basic customs duty and CVD on all items of machinery required for fuel cell based power generating systems to be set up in the country lowered to 5 and 6 per cent from 10/7 and 12.5 per cent earlier.

Also, the basic customs duty, on resins and catalyst for manufacture of cast components for wind operated energy generator has been lowered to 5 per cent from 7.5 per cent earlier, while CVD and SAD on these items have been slashed to nil from 12.5 per cent and 4 per cent, respectively earlier.

Continuing the focus on promoting leather industry, Jaitley announced that basic customs duty on vegetable tanning extracts used in making leather products such as bags and shoes has been slashed to 2.5 per cent from 7.5 per cent earlier.

Miniaturised POS card reader for m-POS, micro ATM as per standard version, finger print reader/scanner and iris scanner will also be cheaper as duty on these item have been reduced to nil.

For the defence forces, services provided or agreed to be provided by the Army, Naval and Air Force Group Insurance Funds by way of life insurance to their members under the Group Insurance Schemes of the Central Government is being exempted from service tax as against 14 per cent charged earlier. (Agencies)


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