Budget 2023: The Centre may hike customs duty on dozens of items in its budget to be presented on February 1, pushing the prices up. The central government has prepared a list of over 35 items that are being examined for a possible hike in customs duty, Economic Times reported on Monday.
Among the items for which duty hike is being considered are private jets, helicopters, high-end electronic items, plastic goods, jewellery, high-gloss paper, and vitamins, the report said. With the move, the government aims to reduce imports and boost local manufacturing of these products.
Last month, The Indian Express reported that the government was planning to regulate imports of 'non-essential items' by hiking import duties. A senior official told the daily that the government was looking at non-essential imports for which there was enough manufacturing capacity in the country.
In November, India's trade deficit widened to $23.89 billion while exports recorded a flat growth of 0.59 per cent to $31.99 billion during the same month.
During April-November 2022, India's exports increased by 11 per cent to $295.26 billion. However, its imports grew by 29.5 per cent to $493.61 billion during the eight months period of this fiscal.
India has been taking measures like production-linked incentive schemes to encourage manufacturing in the country to bring down its imports and improve export numbers. However, India's widening trade deficit with China is now worrying a section of policymakers.
In December, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that the trade deficit between India and China had touched $51.5 billion during April-October this fiscal. The deficit during 2021-22 had jumped to $73.31 billion as compared to 44.03 billion in 2020-21.
In the Budget 2022, the Finance Ministry raised customs duty on several products - most of them were being imported from China. For instance, customs duty was hiked on headphones, speakers, smart meters, and umbrellas. These products are mostly imported from China.
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