Reduction in Excise Duties of Consumer Products Sought by FICCI

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A reduction in excise duties has been sought by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on consumer goods from Budget 2008. According to the FICCI, this is required to overcome the slack in the manufacturing sector of India. Towards this end, the FICCI has also demanded lower rates of interest, lower corporate tax rates and proper policies pertaining to raw materials, from Budget 2008.

Commenting on the issue, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry stated, "While the slowdown is not pervasive and has affected only some sectors, it is a cause for concern. The trend may continue for some time, given the current economic scenario".

Manufacturers of electrical products, machinery and machinery components, project equipments, textiles, pressure vessels, tanks, thermal transfer equipments and heat exchangers have been affected in terms of investment plans due to the slowdown in the manufacturing sector.

Operating capacities have been affected in the production of chemicals, electrical products, hardware, tanks, boilers and dyes. Domestic manufacturers of consumer durables apprehend that cheaper imports from Singapore and Thailand can affect their profitability significantly.

The FICCI has suggested measures like capacity building of SMEs, infrastructure development, skill development and relief to exporters to address the problem. Further, the FICCI has suggested that there should not be any further reduction in customs duties of manufactured products. Exemption of service tax for textile exporters has also been suggested by the FICCI.

Appropriate fiscal policies need to be undertaken in Budget 2008, to raise the level of demand for industrial products and consumer goods. The FICCI feels that reduction in excise duties will play a major role in stimulating demand.

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