Union Budget 2014: Smoking to be costly; colour TV, footwear set to be cheaper

PTI Posted online: Thursday, Jul 10, 2014 at 0000 hrs
New Delhi : Smokers will have to shell out more for the puff as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today proposed a steep hike in duty on cigarettes, and also made pan masala, gutkha, chewing tobacco and aerated drinks containing sugar costlier.

On the other hand, traditional colour television and new LED/LCD TVs -- specially those below 19 inches, personal computers, e-book readers, low cost foot-wears, LED lights, water purifiers using reverse osmosis technology are some of the items that are set to become cheaper due to reduction in different taxes and duties.

While presenting the Budget for 2014-15, Jaitley proposed to increase the specific excise duty on cigarettes in the range of 11 per cent to 72 per cent.

Excise duty has been increased by 72 per cent on cigarettes of length not exceeding 65 mm and by 11 per cent to 21 per cent for cigarettes of other lengths.

Similar increases has also been proposed on cigars, cheroots and cigarillos.

Likewise, excise duty on pan masala has been increased to 16 per cent from 12 per cent, unmanufactured tobacco to 55 per cent from 50 per cent; gutkha and chewing tobacco to 70 per cent from 60 per cent to on.

The Finance Minister also proposed to levy an additional duty of excise at 5 per cent on aerated waters containing added sugar.

"These are healthy measures and I hope everyone would welcome them from the point of view of human and fiscal health," Jaitley said.

As the government has already extended excise duty concessions beyond June 30, 2014, for a period of 6 months up to December 31, 2014 given to capital goods, consumer durables and automobile sectors, prices of these item will remain unchanged.

Jaitley, however, made it easier for consumers in the lower end of the spectrum who still watch traditional TVs by exempting colour picture tubes from basic customs duty.

"Cathode ray TVs are used by weaker sections who cannot afford to buy more expensive flat panel TVs ... The duty concession will help revive manufacturing of TVs in the SME sector and create employment opportunities," Jaitley said.

The minister further said: "At the same time, to encourage production of LCD and LED TVs below 19 inches in India, I propose to reduce the basic customs duty on LCD and LED TV panels of below 19 inches from 10 percent to nil.

"Further, to encourage manufacture of LCD and LED TV panels, I propose to exempt from basic customs duty specified inputs used in their manufacture."

Cost of HIV/AIDS medicines and diagnostic kits for AIDS, TB and malaria will go down with full exemption from customs duty.

To provide relief to the footwear industry, most of which are in SME sector, Jaitley proposed to reduce excise duty from 12 per cent to 6 per cent on footwear of retail price exceeding Rs 500 per pair but not exceeding Rs 1,000 a pair.

"Footwear of retail price up to Rs 500 per pair will continue to remain exempted," he said.

Personal computers, laptops and tablets are also set to be cheaper as the special additional duty on all inputs and components used to manufacture these items has been exempted.

Similarly, e-book readers will become cheaper it will no longer attract basic customs duty as against 7.5 per cent earlier. Excise duty on metal core and PCB driver used to manufacture of LED lights, lamps and fixtures has been reduced from 10-12 per cent to 6 per cent, thus making it more affordable.

Water purifiers using reverse osmosis (RO) technology will also become cheaper as excise duty on RO membrane element has been reduced to 6 per cent from 10-12 per cent

On the other hand, with the list of negative list of service tax being reviewed, online and mobile advertising will become expensive as service tax leviable currently, on sale of space or time for advertisements in broadcast media has been widened.

"Sale of space for advertisements in print media however would remain excluded from service tax," Jaitley said.

Similarly, tax is being proposed on the service provided by radio-taxis to place them on par with rent-a-cab service, thus making it costlier.

Central excise duty on branded petrol has been reduced to Rs 2.35 per litre from Rs 7.5 earlier while concessional excise duty of 2 per cent without CENVAT and 6 per cent with CENVAT credit has been extended to sports gloves.

Half-cut or broken diamonds will be more expensive with levy of basic customs duty of 2.5 compared with zero duty at present. Similarly, basic customs duty on cut and polished diamonds and coloured gemstones has been increased to 2.5 per cent as against 2 per cent earlier.

Soaps will become cheaper as its ingredients such fatty acids, crude palm stearin, RBD and other palm stearin, specified industrial grade crude oils will no longer attract basic customs duty as against from 7.5 per cent levied earlier.

Other ingredients in soaps such as crude glycerin will now per cent compared with 12.5 per cent earlier.

Portable X-ray machines will become costlier CVD exemption on them being withdrawn.