Nath favours tax-free import of steel, ban on rice exports

New Delhi, Mar 28 | Updated: Mar 30 2008, 03:32am hrs
Commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath on Friday said his ministry would recommend scrapping of import duty on steel, whose rising prices have contributed to a surge in inflation rate.

We are going to recommend scrapping of import duty on steel... government is looking at a proposal to ban non-basmati rice export, he told reporters here, while terming rise in inflation as a matter of concern.

Headline inflation rate grew by 6.68%for the week ended March 15, mainly on account of increase in prices of steel and food items. Seeking to improve the supply situation in the domestic market, the commerce and industry ministry on Thursday night withdrew export incentives given to at least 40 items, including steel. The withdrawal includes the tax refund scheme - Duty Entitlement Pass Book (DEPB).

Total number of items on which DEPB benefits have been withdrawn would be running into about 40-50, commerce secretary GK Pillai told reporters here early on Friday.