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Toy traders meet Sitharaman

Toy traders from Burrabazar met Nirmala over the issue of a 200 per cent increase in customs duty for imported toys
Nirmala Sitharaman

Our Special Correspondent   |   Calcutta   |   Published 09.02.20, 07:39 PM

A number of toy traders from Burrabazar on Sunday met Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and raised the issue of a 200 per cent increase in customs duty for imported toys.

The traders shut down their businesses on Saturday protesting the steep hike.

“During our interaction with the minister, an official of the finance ministry asked us to approach the commerce ministry as he said the hike was based on feedback from that ministry,” said Akshay Binjrajka, a toy trader and secretary of the West Bengal Exim Association, who was present at the interaction with Sitharaman at a city hotel.

“The official also said that during pre-budget discussions they tried to find out in which sectors products were manufactured in India.... But he also told us that if we felt our side of the story did not find a representation, we must meet commerce ministry officials. If the commerce ministry forwards our point to the finance ministry, they would look into it,” said Akshay.

Some of the traders went to the airport when Sitharaman arrived around 9pm on Saturday. They requested minister to listen to them, which she did. “We said we did not have an invitation for Sunday’s programme. She then called up an official and asked him to ensure that we were allowed in Sunday’s interaction,” a trader said.

Metro reported on Sunday that the traders said the 2019-20 budget had raised the customs duty on toys from 10 per cent to 20 per cent, the impact of which the industry was yet to overcome. On top of it, this year the government announced in the budget customs duty will be raised to 60 per cent from 20 per cent, which they said was like a deathblow.

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