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February 08, 2023

GST cut on cement may be put on fitment panel's table, says Finance Minister

Ritu Srivastava

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman indicated Tuesday that the industry's demand for trimming the 28% goods and services tax levy on cement, a key input for the infrastructure sector, could be taken to the fitment panel under the GST Council.

The infrastructure sector proposed lowering the GST rate on cement because it would reduce project costs and promote growth. The minister responded, "I understand your point." Let's say we have the fitment committee look at it and, if required, take it before the council.

The minister was speaking at a post-budget gathering that was put on by the business group CII.

She urged India Inc. to collaborate with entrepreneurs and exploit their ideas for product development, as well as to look for "out of the box" suggestions for what can work as a catalyst to increase investment.

Sitharaman said to the businessmen in attendance, "I would think collaborating with startups for products... or for technical requirements is the need of the hour, and you should now unhesitatingly cooperate to achieve that benefit."

The minister urged businesses to promptly reevaluate their manufacturing procedures in light of some countries' erection of tariff walls on specific items as they went through the green transition.

The government's numerous production-linked incentive (PLI) programs may serve as a strong inducement to increase investment, according to the minister. She urged businesses to look beyond such plans and find more investment incentives.

According to her, following the COVID ruling, businesses began to consider India's prospects outside of their industries and adjusted their investment plans based on emerging technologies, sustainable development objectives, and sustainability imperatives.

Sitharaman, who increased the capital plan in the budget by 37.4% to 10 lakh crore, maintained confidence that the funding allotted for the current fiscal year will be used. The revised capital estimate for FY23 has been set by the government at 7.28 lakh crore.

Sanjiv Bajaj, president of the CII, praised the current budget for striking a balance between budgetary responsibility and economic expansion.


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