Union Budget 2018: Ahead of Budget 2018, to encourage domestic pulp production, idustry body Assocham today urged Modi governemnt to impose 10 per cent customs duty on import of hardwood chemical pulp and bleached chemi-thermo mechanical pulp (BCTMP). This move will certainly help in creating jobs and promote overall economic development of the country’s vast rural hinterland housing pulpwood plantations, as per the statement by Assocham. Accroding to the industry body “these measures would help energise creation of sustainable sources of fibre required by the Indian pulp and paper industry.”
The statement on BCTMP was part of the industry body’s pre-budget recommendations on indirect taxes submitted to the Union government. The industry body has also sought policy measures to facilitate private sector participation in plantation development programmes. Besides, the chamber has recommended that import of capital goods required by the paper and paperboard industry for technological up-gradation, especially aimed at environmental protection and for compliance with the Corporate Responsibility for Environmental Protection (CREP), be permitted at “nil” rate of customs duty.
It has suggested that exports by manufactures, who have adopted environment-friendly technology, be granted additional incentives such as cash incentive of 5 per cent of free on board (FOB) value. It is estimated that more than 1.25 million metric tonnes (MMT) of pulp, approximately valued at USD 710 million (about Rs 4,600 crore), is imported into India each year. Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said instead of generating sizeable employment opportunities within the country, millions of jobs are being exported to the nations from where pulp is imported.
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The Assocham justified customs duty exemption on import of softwood pulp, saying it cannot be grown in India and thus its requirement will have to be met through shipments from abroad.