Govt withdraws tax refund on steel, cement

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New Delhi, Mar 28 (UNI) The government today said it has withdrawn tax refund schemes for exporters of steel, cement and non-basmati rice to boost the domestic supply.

''When there is shortage in the country, why give export incentives!,'' Commerce Secretary G K Pillai told reporters on the sidelines of a conference here.

The prices are already high and the government does not want the prices to shoot up further, he added.

These benefits, given under the Duty Entitlement Pass Book (DEPB), have been withdrawn after the notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade yesterday.

The government has also scrapped the export subsidies for manganese and chrome ferrous, Mr Pillai said.

A Group of Ministers will meet on April 2 to consider lowering the import tax on soybean oil, he added.

The government yesterday increased the minimum export price (MEP) on non-basmati rice by 350 dollars to 1,000 dollars per tonne and on basmati rice from 900 dollars to 1,100 dollars a tonne.

Mr Pillai said the DEPB will continue till the Cabinet further takes decision on it.

The Finance Ministry had opposed extension of the scheme by another year citing huge revenue losses and the non-WTO compatibility of the scheme.

However, the Commerce Ministry pressed for its extension saying it would help in giving some relief to exporters hit by over 12 per cent appreciation of rupee against dollar in the past one year.

The scheme is coming to an end on March 31.


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