New Delhi, Sept 26, 2018 : In an attempt to curb imports of non-essential goods, the Centre on Wednesday hiked customs duties on as many as 19 items, including jet fuel, ACs and refrigerators.
The Centre’s move will now make air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, air travel and several other items dearer.
The decision will be effective from midnight of September 26-27.
’’Total import bill on account of shipment of these items into the country last fiscal was Rs 86,000 crore,’’ the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
The other items on which the import duty has been raised include washing machines, speakers, radial car tyres, jewellery items, kitchen and tableware, certain plastic goods, and suitcases.
"The central government has taken tariff measures, by way of increase in the basic customs duty, to curb import of certain imported items. These changes aim at narrowing the current account deficit (CAD) ... In all the customs duty has been increased on 19 items,’’ the Finance Ministry said.
The import duty was doubled to 20 percent on ACs, refrigerators and washing machines (less than 10kg).
These changes in the rates of basic customs duty will be effective from the midnight of September 26-27, it said.
It may be recalled that the Narendra Modi had recently announced five-pronged steps to check widening current account deficit and capital outflows. Curbing non-essential imports is part of the government’s five-pronged strategy to check widening current account deficit
The CAD, the difference between inflow and outflow of foreign exchange, widened to 2.4 per cent of GDP in the April-June quarter.