New Delhi, Jan. 28: The Centre today came out with its election-eve sops for importers and exporters — probably one of the last beneficiaries of the blandishments the government has been doling out to different interest groups since early January.
Announcing the “measures for facilitating trade”, commerce minister Arun Jaitley said imports of capital goods, including office and professional equipment, will be allowed under the duty free entitlement scheme.
The government extended the scheme of advance licence for annual requirements for deemed exports and intermediate supplies. Advance licences have been reintroduced for free of cost material. The payment of composition fee for extension of export obligations has been reduced and linked to the amount of duty saved.
Only 50 per cent fee will be charged if licence application is made online. Duty on imported electrical energy has been reduced to zero to help north Indian states import power from neighbouring countries.
Jaitley, however, maintained that these announcements were only “procedural changes”. The “post-election” government would present the full-fledged exim policy for the next fiscal.
In order to promote export-related infrastructure, rupee payments received for port handling services will now be counted for discharge of export obligations under the EPCG scheme.
To boost R&D activity, import of prototypes will be allowed to actual users without any limit, from the current 10 per annum.
To accelerate incremental growth rate of exports, the government is focusing on procedural simplification by introducing e-commerce initiatives like digital signature, electronic fund transfer and message exchange.
“All these will not only reduce transaction costs for exporters but also impart greater transparency,” Jaitley said.
To offset high power costs faced by manufacturing industry, duty-free fuel would be allowed with actual user conditions under duty free replenishment certificate (DFRC) scheme.
Advance licence for intermediate goods would be allowed against this scheme and the sensitive list under the DFRC scheme has been pruned with downward revision of customs duties. Imports of global positioning systems receivers have been allowed. The equity base of ECGC has been raised to Rs 800 crore from Rs 500 crore.
National export insurance account will be created from ECGC to underwrite high-value projects by Indian companies abroad. A gold card scheme will be started for creditworthy exporters for easy availability of export credit on best terms.
BIS mandatory quality certification scheme has been amended for importers having captive consumption and in-house testing facilities. The non-tariff barriers on imports for export production have been rationalised for food and textile items.