Paper industry urges FM to rationalise customes, excise duties

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New Delhi, Jan 17 (UNI) Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA), the country's apex body of paper manufacturers, today urged the Finance Minister to rationalise excise and custom duties on all varieties of paper and paperboard in the coming budget.

In a memorandum submitted to the government recently, IPMA has requested the government to rationalise the excise duty from 12 per cent to 8 per cent on all varieties of paper and paperboard.

IPMA Secretary General R Narayan Moorthy said despite the paper industry's critical importance for the educational sector and significant forward linkages to other manufacturing industries, paper and paper products face direct and indirect taxation of about 20 per cent, which include the current excise at 12 per cent, VAT, octroi.

There are different rates of eight and 16 per cent prevailing for some categories, he added.

''The rationalisation to a uniform rate of eight per cent in excise duty will add Rs 292 crore over a short span to the exchequer once the size and scale of the industry touch a new high on the back of enabling growth policies,'' said Mr Moorthy.

While, it has sought retention of customs duty at 10 per cent along with re-introduction of SAD to maintain parity in global production costs any further reduction will discourage investments sector which are required badly to support the Government's thrust on education sector, he said.

''Paper industry is today operating with farm forestry and agri-residues creating jobs in farm sector. Government needs to look at this sector just like the agro sector,'' IPMA President Pradeep Dhobale opined, adding that a serious handicap being faced by the industry in the form of unavailability of quality raw materials at a competitive cost.

The Association has also requested the government to consider the adoption of Multi Stakeholder Partnership (MSP) model proposed by MoEF for forestation of degraded land.

''We plead access to at least two per cent degraded forestland on lease in the radius of 150-200 kilometres to paper mills. This will produce pulpable wood to achieve cost competitiveness in terms of wood and freight as well as generate employment, create wealth for the rural poor and protect the environment,'' added Mr Moorthy.

The industry has invested over Rs 3,000 crore to assimilate cleaner technologies in adherence with the Charter of Corporate Responsibility for Environment Protection.

The Association has urged the government to consider import of capital goods required for Environmental up-gradation and CREP compliance at zero per cent customs duty.

Paper industry is a signatory to the government's Charter on Corporate Responsibility on Environmental Protection (CREP).

Given the current state of relative obsolescence of process technology, IPMA has urged the government to remove customs duties on the capital goods required for environmental up-gradation and CREP compliance.

UNI SBA PDT RN1620

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