Govt extends duty reimbursement scheme for exporters

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New Delhi, Mar 31 (UNI) The Duty Entitlement Pass Book (DEPB) scheme, the most popular duty reimbursement scheme for exporters which was to lapse today, has been extended till further orders.

Directorate General of Foreign Trade, which made the announcement, said DEPB rates announced on April 1, 2007 and subsequent amendments made shall continue for all exports under scheme until further orders.

While exporters had been hoping its extension for three years, the revenue department had been purusing to let it lapse by March-end. The scheme, involving disbursements of about Rs 10,000 crore per annum, was being extended on a piecemeal basis over the past three years.

The extension has reportedly been recommended by the committee headed by Planning Commission member Anwarul Hoda, which was set up by the PMO to look at the possibility of replacing the scheme with an alternative one so as to bring it in line with India's obligations at the World Trade Organisation.

The three-member committee by Mr Hoda, former WTO deputy director-general, suggested that it was best to continue with the DEPB scheme for three more years.

The DEPB scheme, which reimburses basic and special Customs duties paid by an exporter on an imported input, is not WTO-compatible. Since the reimbursement is given on the basis of pre-determined rates in the form of freely transferable scrips, which can be sold in the market, it has been challenged at the global trade body.

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