India’s Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Thursday asked cement makers and other manufacturers for help in fighting inflation.
"Cement prices have gone up beyond all reasonable limits...I would urge the industry to hold the prices to fight inflation," Chidambaram said, addressing industry lobby groups.
According to latest government data, the country’s inflation eased to 6.63% in the week ended Feb. 10 from 6.73% a week earlier, much above the central bank’s comfort level of 5.0%-5.5%.
The federal budget presented Wednesday imposed differential excise tariffs on cement bags based on the selling price.
The excise tariff was raised to INR600 per ton from INR408 per ton for cement sold at more than INR190 per 50 kg bag.
Cement manufacturers Thursday raised prices by INR12 per 50 kg bag.
The industry chambers Thursday said the dual system of excise for the cement industry might hurt the sector.
Chidambaram said the government hopes to converge excise duty, service tax and value added tax rates to arrive at a goods and service tax rate next fiscal year.