The Indian cement industry wants the hike in excise duty announced by Finance Minister Jaswant Singh in
Budget 2003-04 to be rolled back. The Cement Manufacturers Association, in
its pre-Budget memorandum, has asked the government to restore the excise
duty on cement to Rs 350 per tonne from Rs 400 a tonne that had been imposed
in the Budget.
The CMA has also asked the government to encourage the use of Portland
Pozzolona Cement (PPC), which uses more than 15 per cent fly-ash, in the
ongoing highway construction drive. This cement has better features than
ordinary cement. Accordingly, the industry body has recommended a cut in the
excise duty by Rs 100 per tonne on this type of blended cement.
In order to boost exports, the cement manufacturers have asked for improving
transportation facilities to Bangladesh by increasing rakes and lowering
rail freights from plants to ports.