The government must take urgent steps to push consumerism in order to translate the vision of $5 trillion economy into reality, said Super Plastronics Director and CEO, Avneet Singh Marwah during an exclusive interview with Financial Express Online. Citing how India had the highest local tax on television, Marwah said he was hopeful the upcoming Union budget 2021 would bring an updated tax structure to encourage positive sentiment among buyers.
“Whenever the taxes are high, there is always some foul play. The government has lost more than $2 billion because of instances of mis-declaration in the last three years alone. The informal economy grows when taxes are high,” Marwah said, adding “we need to update the tax structure.”
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At present, televisions up to 32-inches have 18 per cent GST rate while those above 32-inches are taxed at 28 per cent.
“We urge the government that it should be (reduced to) 18 per cent at least for TVs up to 40-inches,” Marwah said.
The government had put imports of various types of colour television sets, including LCDs, under a restricted category from free last year, to reduce India’s reliance on imports, especially from China. In the later part of the year, the government had re-imposed 5 per cent customs duty on open-cell panels to further boost domestic manufacturing–this was zero between September 2019 and 2020.
While the former move has been largely appreciated by local brands including Super Plastronics, the latter has seen mixed response, even more so in the wake of the ongoing pandemic situation.
“We urge the government to take back the 5 per cent duty on open cell TV panel imports as price of raw material has shot up in the wake of the pandemic,” Marwah said highlighting how “panel pricing alone has increased by up to 170 per cent lately.”
There are other ways the government could–and maybe should–promote domestic manufacturing in the television space, according to Marwah. One of them, is through the introduction of a PLI-scheme for LED TVs.
“The PLI scheme should be expanded to include LED TVs (even LED lights have been included in the current scheme).”
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Regardless of all the expectations, there is an air of positivity in the home-grown smart TV industry today. And lots of positive momentum. Though, according to Marwah, “everything depends on the political stability. All the entrepreneurs and industries need to feel secure while they are investing in India. We will be putting 200 crore investment in our next two plants in India. But if the political landscape changes in India and again, the Chinese lobbying comes back and imports start, the whole investment will be of no use and there will be struggle the market.”
Super Plastronics is the official brand licensee of Kodak and Thomson TVs in India.