No relief on our inputs in the Budget: IBMA

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New Delhi, Mar 1 (UNI) The Indian Biscuits Manufacturers' Association (IBMA) has said it did not receive any relief in the Budget 2008-09 as its major inputs, such as Vegetable-Oil/Palm Oil, have not been given any consideration by the Finance Minister.

The Biscuit industry which was demanding full exemption in excise duty (eight per cent) on biscuits with retail prices above Rs 100 per kg and a cut down in the VAT from 12.5 per cent to 4 per cent, was given a meagre relief of 2 per cent only on packaging paper, in spite of the fact that the sector has been recognized as thrust area by the government.

''The Finance Minister has totally ignored the Food Processing Industries, including Biscuit Industry. On the other hand the Budget has granted total exemption from 16 per cent Excise Duty for breakfast cereals like Cornflakes manufactured by Multinationals and large industries which are consumed by affluent segment of consumers,'' IBMA's President B P Agarwal said.

Mr Agarwal added the Biscuit Industry and other Food Processing Industries like Fruit Juice, Vegetables and Fruit Processed items have been facing steep hike in cost of production and escalation due to ever rising prices of Wheat, Maida, Vegetable Oil, and other raw materials ingredients as well as fuel prices, transportation, power tariff, wages to the extent of 15 per cent to 50 per cent during the year 2007-08.

In a statement issued today, IBMA appealed to the Finance Minister to grant substantial relief in Excise Duty as well as Customs Duty on Food Products like Biscuits, and its inputs.

''Hygienic and high quality biscuits are made at affordable prices throughout the country, and being a price sensitive high volume-low margin product, Biscuit prices have remained unchanged during the previous years, Biscuit - common man's food product, is also unfairly subjected to highest levy of Value Added Tax(VAT) at 12.5 per cent, as against zero per cent and four per cent on similar food products like jams, jellies, namkeen, bread, potato chips, and even luxury items such as Dry Fruits,'' Mr Agarwal pointed out.

Besides, biscuit manufacturers also have to bear the burden of CST and a plethora of local levies viz Entry Tax, Purchase Tax, Octroi, Surcharges, Cess on the finished products as well as raw materials /ingredients, he added.

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