The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The picture is grim for digital cameras

Calcutta, Nov. 23: Every second digicam sold in the country is from the gray market. You could get a better deal out of the “smuggled goods vendor” than from a branded outlet since it would cost you half the price of a Samsung, Kodak or Canon.

The high duties levied on digicams — customs duty, countervailing duty, SAD and sales tax — are believed to be responsible for the flourishing gray component. Presently, a CVD of 16 per cent is levied on digicams, while the sales tax varies from 12 to 15 per cent.

“The CVD is unnecessary as there is no local manufacturing industry to be protected,” said Alok Bharadwaj, director and general manager for the consumer imaging and information division, Canon India.

The industry has appealed to the apex body for the hardware industry, MAIT, to put its case before the ministry of IT as well as the state governments for the abolition of CVD and uniform sales tax of 4 per cent.

Vinnie Mehta, executive director of MAIT, feels that the task is daunting, as the issue of sales tax has to be resolved with all the state governments. Also, there is no unique list of IT products followed by the states. Consumer Electronics and TV Manufacturers Association (Cetma) estimates that the industry is around Rs 200 crore and around 80,000 units are expected to be sold this year. Sony, Samsung and Kodak account for a major portion of the market though IDC considers Canon to be the most aggressive.

Canon says that from a mere one per cent, digicams will take a 15 per cent share of the Rs 700 crore turnover projections in 2007. Canon digicams are available from Rs 10,000 for the low-end models to Rs 1 lakh for the professional models.

D-Link has one model, which costs between Rs 5,000 and Rs 6,000, has seen a 30 per cent growth. Worldwide the same model is priced at $129. The lowest priced Kodak model costs Rs 9,000 and escalates to Rs 31,900 for the professional model.

The unorganised sector also sells brands like Minolta and Olympus.

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