Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Lok Sabha today(24/11) passed by voice vote the Rubber(Amendment)Bill, 2009, envisaging exemption of over Rs 16.68 crore cess on natural rubber produced and procured in the country for export in 42 years between April 1961 to August 2003, providing relief to both producers and exporters.

The bill will now go to the Standing Committee of Rajya Sabha for consideration before the House of elders pass it to make it a law, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia said while replying to a three-hour debate. He clarified the bill is not with the Rajya Sabha panel as claimed by a member during the debate.

The Bill, moved for consideration and passage by Mr Scindia, empowers the Central government to levy zero paise per kg of excise duty on natural rubber produced and procured for export between April 1, 1961 to August 31, 2003. This, the financial memorandum said, would result in exemption of cess amounting to Rs 16,68,59,000 on the rubber produced and procured for export.

Addressing members concerns over India's free trade agreement with the ten-nation bloc of south east Asian countries, ASEAN, Mr Scinida pointed out rubber has been included in the negative list of 489 items where no reduction in import tariff has been made by the country. He said domestic price of rubber is higher than the prices in the international market.

This fourth amendment of The Rubber Act, 1947 when legislated will provide relief to rubber industry by removing cumbersome restrictions of registration of rubber estates and licence for planting and re-planting.

Instead of the time-consuming and complex procedure for assessment and collection of cess, the Bill provides for self-assessment and compounding of offences to check illegal transaction and evasion of excise duty.

By removing obsolete and redundant features of the previous Act, the Bill is aimed at bringing the rubber industry in sync with the liberalised economic scenario in the country.


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