Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her Budget speech on Wednesday proposed to reduce the number of Basic Customs Duty (BCD) rates on goods other than textiles and agriculture from 21 per cent to 13 per cent.
This has necessitated minor changes in the basic Customs duties, cesses and surcharges on some items, including toys, bicycles, automobiles and naphtha.
While presenting the Union Budget 2023-24 in the Parliament on Wednesday, the Finance Minister also emphasised on a simplified tax structure with fewer tax slabs to help reduce the compliance burden and improve tax administration.
In order to avoid cascading of taxes on blended compressed natural gas, the Finance Minister proposed to exempt excise duty on GST-paid compressed bio-gas contained in it.
To further provide impetus to green mobility, Sitharaman announced extending Customs duty exemption to import of capital goods and machinery required for manufacture of lithium-ion cells for batteries used in electric vehicles.
Sitharaman also proposed to provide relief in Customs duty on import of certain parts and inputs like camera lens, and continued the concessional duty on lithium-ion cells for batteries for another year in order to further deepen domestic value addition in the manufacturing of mobile phones.
The minister said that mobile phone production in India increased from 5.8 crore units valued at about Rs 18,900 crore in 2014-15 to 31 crore units valued at over Rs 2,75,000 crore in the last financial year as a result of the various initiatives undertaken by the government, including the phased manufacturing programme.
She also proposed to reduce the BCD on parts of open cells of TV panels to 2.5 per cent to promote value addition in the manufacturing of televisions.
“There will be an increase in the BCD on electric kitchen chimneys from 7.5 per cent to 15 per cent and a reduction on heat coils from 20 per cent to 15 per cent. This change would rectify inversion of duty structure and encourage manufacturing of electric kitchen chimneys,” the Finance Minister said.
Sitharaman also proposed to exempt BCD on denatured ethyl alcohol.
She announced reducing Customs duty on acid grade fluorspar from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent to make the domestic fluorochemicals industry competitive.
The BCD on crude glycerin for use in manufacture of epichlorohydrin was also proposed to be reduced from 7.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent.
The Finance Minister proposed to reduce the Customs duty on key inputs for domestic manufacturing of shrimp feed to enhance the export competitiveness of marine products.
She stated that the marine products recorded the highest export growth in the last financial year, benefiting farmers in the coastal states of the country.
The Budget also proposed to nullify the customs duty on seeds used in the manufacturing of Lab Grown Diamonds from the current 5 per cent.
The Finance Minister proposed to increase the duties on articles made from dore and bars of gold and platinum to enhance the duty differential.
To facilitate the availability of raw materials for the steel sector, Sitharaman proposed to continue the exemption from Customs duty on raw materials for manufacture of CRGO Steel, ferrous scrap and nickel cathode.
She also proposed to continue the concessional Customs duty of 2.5 per cent on copper scrap to ensure the availability of raw materials for secondary copper producers who are mainly in the MSME sector.
The Finance Minister in her Budget speech also revised upwards the National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) on specified cigarettes by about 16 per cent. It was last revised three years ago.