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‘Hike import duty on steel products, remove on ferro nickle’

NEW DELHI, Feb 23:  Seeking 5 per cent duty hike on stainless steel finished flat products and elimination of import duty on ferro nickel, industry body ISSDA today said the move will help government earn Rs 100 crore a year in revenue.
“We have done some back-of-the-envelop calculation. If both of these things (increasing basic customs duty on stainless steel finished flat products from 7.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent and elimination of duty on ferro nickel and stainless steel scrap) are taken together the government will be a net revenue gainer,” Indian Stainless Steel Development Association President K K Pahuja told.
The industry body had been pursuing with the government for zero duty on ferro nickel and stainless steel scrap and duty increase on stainless steel finished flat products.
Both ferro nickel and stainless scrap, key raw materials for stainless steel manufacturing, attract an import duty of 2.5 per cent.
“It help in two ways. Government will be revenue gainer that is one part but once its gives a boost to the local industry it further revives the economy gives the multiplier effect. More people get employment and so on and therefore it further raises revenue for the government,” Pahuja said.
The stainless steel industry, he said, is facing threat due to the unchecked imports coming into the country and added that the stainless steel industry should be treated at par with the carbon steel.
“Stainless steel industry in already under pressure or under distress…We are not asking for something special. We want parity with carbon steel,” he added.
More that 20 per cent of the demand of the stainless steel industry is met through imports, while in the case of carbon steel or the bulk steel it is less than 10 per cent, he said.
“Why is import intensity (for stainless steel industry) high because we have lower protection from lower basic custom duty of 7.5 per cent,” he added.
The import of stainless steel flat products in the last fiscal was 5.25 lakh tonnes against the domestic demand of 2.6 million tonnes, he said,  adding that in the ongoing fiscal which is coming to an end next month it would at the similar level.
“Fifty per cent of capacity is idle today. If we bring 10-15 per cent more capacity utilisation it will be big boost to the economy,” he said. (PTI)

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