Union Cabinet is likely to consider tomorrow the first-ever policy for the country’s capital goods sector, which envisages creation of 21 million additional jobs by 2025.
The policy envisions increasing the share of capital goods in total manufacturing activity from 12 per cent at present to 20 per cent by 2025. It was cleared in February by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The objectives of the National Capital Goods Policy are to create an ecosystem for a globally competitive capital goods sector to achieve total production in excess of Rs 7.5 lakh crore by 2025 from the current Rs 2.3 lakh crore.
It also aims to increase direct domestic employment from the current 1.4 million to at least 5 million and indirect employment from the current 7 million to 25 million by 2025, thus providing additional employment to over 21 million people.
The National Policy on Capital Goods is envisaged to unlock the potential of this promising sector and establish India as a global manufacturing powerhouse, said the policy document.
The policy envisages increasing the share of domestic production in India’s capital goods demand from 60 per cent to 80 per cent by 2025 and in the process improve domestic capacity utilisation to 80-90 per cent.
To create an ecosystem for globally competitive capital goods sector, the policy recommends devising a long term, stable and rationalised tax and duty structure.
It advocates adoption of a uniform Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime ensuring effective GST rate across all capital goods sub-sectors competitive with import duty after set-off with a view to ensure level playing field.
The policy calls for ensuring parity of import duty structure with domestic duties, for example, equalize Countervailing Duty (CVD) and Excise duty; and Special Additional Duty (SAD) with Sales tax/ VAT or GST.
It recommends correcting the existing inverted duty structure anomalies and considering a uniform customs duty on imports of all capital goods related products.
It also aims to facilitate improvement in technology depth across sub-sectors, increase skill availability, ensure mandatory standards and promote growth and capacity building of MSMEs.
Key policy recommendations include strengthening the existing scheme of the Department of Heavy Industry on enhancement of competitiveness of the capital goods sector by increasing budgetary allocation and increasing its scope to further boost global competitiveness.
It entails stepping up exports of India-made capital goods through a ‘Heavy Industry Export & Market Development Assistance Scheme (HIEMDA)’, launch of Technology Development Fund, setting up new testing and certification facility and upgrading existing ones, making standards mandatory in order to reduce sub-standard machine imports, among others.