Sharma, FM talk duty drawback mechanism

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Union minister for commerce & industry and textiles Anand Sharma met finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday to discuss modalities concerning an all-India duty drawback rate mechanism that would seek to compensate exporters against the backdrop of the withdrawal of the Duty Entitlement Passbook Scheme (DEPB).

The DEPB scheme, introduced in 1997, is set to expire by the end of this month. According to the scheme, exporters are compensated for customs duty paid on shipments.

“We are discussing as to what should be done in terms of a robust scheme, which the finance minister had earlier agreed to in our discussions, which cushioned the adverse impact of the withdrawal (of DEPB). So, the government is mindful of concerns of the industry and exporters and will do what is appropriate that exporters and the industry continue to get additional support. It (DEPB) was to end on June 30, but after that a sunset window of three months was given. I am sure by September 30, a robust duty drawback scheme that embraces all industrial sectors should be in place,” Sharma told reporters here on the sidelines of the South Asia Forum by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci). 

Sharma said the government was going to announce the much-awaited National Manufacturing Policy soon. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs would take up the proposal by this month. The policy, which seeks to improve the regulatory environment, will bring down the compliance burden on the industry, according to Ficci.

According to the Confederation of Indian Industry, the growth of manufacturing sector has been hampered by inadequate infrastructure, high transaction and compliance costs, stringent exit mechanisms, rigid labour laws, lack of skilled human resource, and low productivity, among others. All these issues need to be addressed by the new policy.

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