Feb 25, 2003|
Budget Expectations - Gujarat Ambuja Cements
Reduction of import duty on non-coking coal from the existing 25% to 5% on the lines of what is applicable to the steel industry. Import duty on non-coking coal had been hiked to 25% from 20% in the last budget and for cement plant located on coast it is an unjust hike. Cement Plants located far away from the collieries would be forced to buy coal from domestic source, which will put tremendous pressure on the transportation system. It is therefore, imperative that the customs duty on non-coking coal be reduced to 5% at par with the duty on coking coal.
Import duty on Furnace Oil, which is currently ruling at 20% + 16% CVD should be brought down to 10%. Considering that it is as basic fuel for generating power and recent surge in international price has made fuel expensive, a cut in duty would help industry maintain its competitiveness.
Excise duty on cement is one of the highest levies and constitutes about 30% net ex-works selling price. It is expected to reduce the duty in line with duty on steel.
The government of India should make a policy, which should give a greater thrust to concretising roads. Increased use of cement in road construction will work in the long-term interest of the country. Not only should the Golden Quadrilateral and North-South-East-West corridor use increased quantum of cement, the Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) should also be made using cement. Since the maintenance of these roads would eventually be the responsibility of states and village panchayat, who do not have funds for their day-to-day operations, cement roads would ensure longer life and entail absolutely no expense for maintenance. It has been proved that concrete roads cost more or less same as Bitumen and with current oil prices probably Bitumen will cost higher than cement.
Dividend Tax and Long Term Capital Gains Tax on equity shares should be abolished.
Corporate Tax rate should be reduced from 35% to 30% and surcharge on all forms of taxation should be discontinued.
All States should encourage introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) from April 1, 2003 simultaneous, to avoid disparity. A number of state governments have offered sales tax exemption to industrial units to promote industries. Upon introduction of VAT these concessions should be continued in the form of Tax remission.
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