ISA demands slashing excise duty to 8%

New Delhi, Nov 13 | Updated: Nov 14 2005, 05:30am hrs
Maintaining that high excise duty is choking the growth of the Indian steel industry, the Indian Steel Alliance (ISA) has demanded that it should be slashed to 8% to allow the industry a fair return on their investment.

The Indian steel industry is unfortunately among the least protected industries in the world and is exposed to cheaper imports from competing nations. Till September, exports from countries like Russia, Germany and Egypt had increased by nearly 50% which is why there is an express need for rationalising import duties as is done in the developed nations, ISA chief Moosa Raza told.

Advocating for lowering of import duties, Mr Raza pointed out that the present excise structure put Indian steel industry on an unequal plank. He reminded that the Kelkar Committee had suggested lowering of import duties to 10% by 2007-08 from the current 15%.

Steel is a value-added item which has the highest forward and backward linkages including the potential to generate high employment. So if we are asking the government to ensure safeguards surely it is not without purpose, he argued.

He said it was imperative to augment steel consumption and to do so it was imperative to lay adequate thrust on infrastructure.