The Indian cement industry has termed Budget 2006 as a mixed bag. The emphasis on infrastructure growth will certainly boost cement demand, said industry officials. But Budget 2006 keeps cement positioned uniquely as "the highest taxed commodity in the country", they added, tongue-in-cheek. There has been no reduction in excise duty which amounts to Rs 408 per tonne — around 30 per cent of the ex-factory price, said Mr D.D. Rathi, Group Executive President and CFO, Grasim Industries Ltd. All taxes included, cement attracts levies of nearly 100 per cent on its ex-factory price and 75 per cent of ex-factory selling price he said. "We are disappointed, sectors such as automobiles and manmade fibre have got excise reduction" said
Mr AK Jain, Wholetime Director, Associated Cement Companies Ltd. "It is very flat without anything for the industry," said Mr Jayesh Doshi, Vice President, Treasury, Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd. "We thought excise for cement would be rationalised with that for clinker (Rs 350 per tonne). That would have given the industry some impetus. There has been some relief in the form of customs duty reduction on pet-coke, said Mr Jain.