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Updated: August 19, 2013 23:19 IST

36.05 % duty on import of high-end TV sets

Special Correspondent
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File photo of a Sharp 65-inch prototype liquid crystal display panel TV. The government today banned duty-free import of flat screen televisions by air travellers in a bid to prop up the rupee, which declined below the 63 level against the US dollar.
AP File photo of a Sharp 65-inch prototype liquid crystal display panel TV. The government today banned duty-free import of flat screen televisions by air travellers in a bid to prop up the rupee, which declined below the 63 level against the US dollar.

As part of its overarching strategy to contain the widening current account deficit (CAD), the government, on Monday, announced its decision to ban the duty-free import of high-end flat screen (LCD/LED) plasma television sets with effect from August 26.

From Monday next week, such ‘non-essential’ imports will not be permitted duty free to air travellers as baggage allowance. Instead, these luxury entertainment commodities will attract a total levy of 36.05 per cent.

A notification to this effect tabled in Parliament by the Finance Ministry brings to an end a decade-old concession that air travellers had benefited from, particularly on purchases made from select countries in Southeast Asia. As per the notification, the Revenue Department amended the rules so as to “disallow import of flat panel (LCD/LED/Plasma) television as part of free baggage allowance.” In effect, come August 26, travellers bringing in LCD/LED/Plasma TV as part of baggage will have to pay customs duty at 35 per cent plus an education cess of three per cent to take the total import duty to 36.05 per cent.

It may be recalled that in a conscious bid to rein in the CAD, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had indicated that apart from raising the duty on import of gold and other precious metals, such as silver and platinum, measures would have to be put in place to curb the import of non-essentials and other luxury goods.

The ban will come as a welcome relief to the domestic industry which has been witnessing a slack in demand. Lauding the step, the Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association said it would boost demand for domestically produced sets, especially when the local manufacturers had invested over Rs.1,500 crore in setting up facilities for flat panel TVs.

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Although it is a necessary measure. Govt needs to strengthen the customs clearance at airports. At mumbai all custom officials just look for traveller with duty luggage and take lot of bribe. There will not be any increase in govt revenue rather than it will add more bribes to customs officials.

from:  deepak
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 23:15 IST

Great! Now one more item for smugglers to smuggle in and avoid ALL taxes. And for
domestic TV manufacturers to sell inferior TV at inflated prices! Did we not learn the lessons
in 70s and 80s when we only had stupid TVs such as Solidaire and Dyanora legally available
and people used to buy smuggled Sony and Sharp etc? Idiocy!

from:  Rangan B
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 21:30 IST

Very disappointing, Why Government believes every passengers are going for only 3 days visit abroad ? There are so many NRIs who brings so many things with them including flat tvs/lcds/leds. What about them ? There is no clarification about duty tariff imposed, either its over free bagagge limit or under limit. There is also no clarification about sizes of tvs/lcds/leds.

from:  Sanjay Trivedi
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 21:08 IST

Please be aware that this is impacting Poor and middle class people
staying in abroad. I have seen in Singapore 90% of the people who carry
LED TVs to India are the labourers here thinking they can save some money
instead of buying in India. Now this govt has even put the stone on
their stomach also. Instead of this let them find any other ways to
collect the money.

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 19:17 IST

The Government is worried about the falling Rupee, but if the trend
continues, there will be a flight of capital. If the returns on an
investment will be wiped out when repatriating funds, it makes no
sense in investing there. It looks like we might be back to pre 1991
days with higher taxation and massive customs and import duty. That
will definitely help- but in a small way.

Higher customs duty on imported TVs won't help local industry in a big
way, when you compare the number of TV's imported Vs domestic
production. This is just comforting oneself. It is clear - thanks to
the muddled economic policies India is in a big mess.

Chidambaram should take advise from the Secretary of finance in the
US and learn how the Obama administration brought the US out of a
recession within 4+ years. These guys have gone to business schools
and are experts in finance. It will work, if the Indian Government is
willing to work on financial policies without mixing politics in it.

from:  Thomas Johnston
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 17:46 IST

excellent move, the only long term way of containing Dollar's dearness is to contain the sale of foreign goods in India, for that govt has to contain purchaising capacity of upper middle class by putting salary caps and incentivise savings.

Also please collect income tax from religious instituions on the donations these iskons and churches and draining wealth out of India.

from:  hereandnow
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 17:16 IST

Well, 36.05% is on the actual bill or the Indian price of the TV? I have
seen most of the times customs officials will have India price-list of
the TVs and demand money based on that. No where it is clearly stated.
Is it a trap or missed out to mention?

from:  Kiran
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 15:44 IST

this is actually a very stupid move, does it mean people who bring in
TV sets from overseas are travelling free of charge. please remember
air tickets to Singapore and Bangkok are NOT distributed free ...
imagine a guys on vacation for 3 days an air ticket cost min 25K
SIngapore return..he buys a tv in singapore for 48K , india price for
same TV is 60K,...do you think he is making money on TV , when he has
actually spend 73K in total on his singapore vacation..
why dont the indian government thinks hard , if certain goods are
produced cheap outside india , why cant India manufacture the same
here in india at the cheaper price ,where the labour cost is cheap.
i think the TV companies in india have stacked money in ministers
offices for creating this ban...

from:  Vishal
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 14:46 IST

Why is TVs costing 50% more in India and cheaper in South East Asia & Dubai. Is government helping the people?

from:  RAJ
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 14:04 IST

What are the steps taken by Chidambaram and Indian Government to curtail the OVER COST of the Flat -LED/LCD & SMART televisions sold in India. For example, a 42" LED TV costs INR26000 in Thailand and it costs 48000- 55000 INR in INDIA. Please remember , i am comparing the same model and same make. This is across all manufacturers. Why should Indian Government allow the mfrs do looting the INDIAN CONSUMERS? Even if someone carrys the television from Abroad, he just sells with a small profit .. is a win-win for traveller and buyer.!!! GOOD LUCK INDIAN PEOPLE...

from:  RAJ
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 12:34 IST

The steps taken by finance minister is highly appreciated, this will
not only save big manufacturers in India but it also helps in saving
precious foreign currency which is being spend now many travelers who
made this as business to bring duty free LCD and LED TV from south
east Asia and sell here on good margins also now these travelers will
stop their number of visits abroad and this will further save our
foreign currency which is being spend on every visit made by these
travelers who visit every month and make quick money by misusing
baggage allowance given by the government to all travelers for
bringing personal belongings only.

from:  SANJAY
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 09:01 IST

The Government has woken up at last. But it is not enough if such high duty is imposed on articles which are symbols of conspicuous consumption. What about food articles such as pasta which are imported into the country and sold at abnormally higher prices compared to pasta manufactured within the country.This is especially ironic when the country is sitting on huge surplus stock of wheat which can be processed into pasta improving the shelf life of wheat and making available pasta at affordable prices to the consumers. The pasta industry which has been in existence for the past 30 years has not exactly flourished due to the presence of the huge unorganised sector and also the irrational policies of the Government which differentiates between vermicelli and pasta though the ingredients are the same by levying Central excise and higher VAT on Pasta in most states while exempting vermicelli from excise and VAT in some of the states. When is the Government going to correct this anomoly?

from:  R VIJAYKUMAR
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 06:20 IST

very dissapointing :(

from:  varun
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 23:01 IST

It will be ideal if the govt declares in paper media the custms duty
payable for each make /size model of TV,to avoid confusion.

from:  R.Natarajan
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 22:35 IST

How much non essential items like TV account our import bill?

from:  Praveen Verma
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 22:31 IST

Does that mean travellers have to pay 35% of custom duty on entire amount of TV purchase..? or only on the remaiing amount other than exemption of INR 35000/- ...?? Please explain if you have acute details along with 'other charges' mentioned apart from custom duty.

from:  bhagwant
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 22:20 IST

This is an Pathetic decision, they don't have the guts to implement reforms in various sectors instead they are banning bringing TV from abroad.

from:  senthil
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 22:14 IST

Ironic that FM doesn't know that NRI coming to India buy it with forex abroad from their earnings. I don't think Indians go and buy TVs placing orders abroad. This is not a good step and will lead to.harassment of passengers by customs.

from:  R Sathyamurthy
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 21:21 IST

This is not going to work. I guess the lawmakers should come in to an airport customs area like a common man with a TV an check for themselves. Customs officers getting richer and richer by taking bribes. Implementation is the biggest issue in India with the govt. staff.

from:  Satthi Reddy
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 21:19 IST

Well done! The elephants stables might have been kept open. At least the
government is alerting it self to close the ' Rat holes '. Can any of
the 'F D I 'experts suggest a 'Mauritius way',please?

from:  chinta sastry
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 21:15 IST

Very funny! All flat panel manufacturing MNCs were pressurising government since past several months to curb duty free import into India, to reduce their losses in India. This is no way seem to be related to money prop up step.

from:  Shankid
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 20:59 IST

The Govt. should come out with a raise in import duty for all non-essential commodities. The economy is suffering so badly because of the globalization and liberalization policies. Help the Nation, not the BIG industrialists and Kits and Kins of our Politicians, they wont be affected by the price rise and economic slowdowns.
Remember, picture can't be drawn with out Canvas. Its the common men, the Canvas!

from:  Sreejith
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 20:38 IST

These are very small measures and would obviously affect the tax paying citizens who would just want to get one TV to their home cheaper with out paying hefty tax here. Rather Government should take some strong steps in automating the Real Estate industry transactions where lot of money transacts in Black. And many other industries other than Real Estate.

More than anything if the amount of black money kept outside of this country if we can route that money or stop some more going outside would be of great help to the society instead of getting into these silly decisions.

from:  Gopinath Yadava
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 20:33 IST
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