The cement industry has urged the finance minister to levy uniform excise duty on packaged cement and to restore import duty on the product in the forthcoming budget. In its pre-budget memorandum, the Cement Manufacturer’s Association (CMA) has asked for an abatement of 55 per cent on excise duty on the product, as recommended by NCEAR.
"Whenever excise duty is levied on the basis of MRP, an abatement is given, but no abatement has been given to the cement industry, though excise duty is levied on the basis of MRP," said NA Vishwanathan, Secretary General, CMA, in the memorandum. "Absence of abatement on excise duty discriminates between cement and other products on which excise duty is levied on the basis of MRP."
The cement industry has asked the government to bring down VAT on cement and clinker to four per cent, in line with steel, and include cement in the declared goods category. Other demands include reduction of royalty on limestone, zero import duty on coal, petcoke, gypsum and other inputs, and free supply of fly ash to cement factories.
Dalmia Cement has urged the government to go for concrete roads rather than bitumen roads so as to boost cement consumption. "Governments should promote concrete roads instead of bitumen roads. The maintenance cost of concrete roads is quite low, the erosion is low and they have a longer life. Also the wear and tear of motor vehicles is low when they ply on concrete roads. The move will also bring in fuel cost savings’ said Puneet Dalmia, Managing Director, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd.
Dalmia has also urged the government to aggressively focus on infrastructure development that would help revive the econom, apart from lifting the ban on cement exports.