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Budget 2018: Bad news for the middle class; mobile phones, gold, LCD TV, vegetable oil, watches get costlier     February 1, 2018

In an attempt to incentivise Make in India, the Modi government's pet project, the Finance Minister announced an increase in customs duty, which will majorly hit the middle-class. The minister said in his speech that he is making a calibrated departure from what has been the norm in the previous years of reducing customs duty. He said in his speech that with a boost to Make in India, there will be more jobs created in the country. The minister said that there is substantial potential for domestic value addition in certain sectors, like food processing, electronics, auto components, footwear and furniture and hence, he decided to increase the customs duty on some items.

Arun Jaitley announced an increase in the customs duty on mobile phones from 15 per cent to 20 per cent. Customs duty on mobile phone and TV parts and accessories has been increased to 15 per cent. The Education Cess and Secondary and Higher Education Cess on imported goods have been abolished and a Social Welfare Surcharge, at the rate of 10 per cent of the aggregate duties of Customs, on imported goods has been implemented.

Customs duty on crude edible vegetable oil has been hiked from 12.5 per cent to 30 per cent and to 35 per cent from 20 per cent on refined edible vegetable oil. Customs duty on imitation jewellery has been increased to 20 per cent from 15 percent, and duty on smart watches, wearable devices and footwear has been increased to 20 per cent.

Customs duty on sunglasses, cigarette lighter, select furniture, toys, bus and truck tyres have also been hiked.
Some of the items that have become costlier are silver, gold, diamond, coloured gemstones, vegetable and fruit juices, miscellaneous food preparations other than soya protein, sunglasses and perfumes, toilet sprays and deodrants. Sunscreen, suntan, manicure and pedicure preparations, oral dental hygiene, dental fixative pastes and powders and dental floss, shaving products will also be more expensive now. Silk fabrics, mattresses, lamps, video game consoles, equipment for outdoor games, swimming pools and paddling pools, kites, cars and motorcycles have also become costlier.

However, raw cashew nuts, solar tempered glass or solar tempered glass used for manufacture solar panels and modules, raw materials, parts or accessories for cochlear implants have been made cheaper.

The Finance Minister also mentioned in his speech that the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) will now be known as Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC).



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