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Mumbai, March 1

THE vegetable oil industry associations have unanimously welcomed the Budget proposal to abolish excise duty on manufacture of refined oils and vanaspati.

Mr Sandeep Bajoria, President, Central Organisation for Oil industry and Trade, said: "Abolition of excise duty on refined edible oils and vanaspati has been our demand. This will help remove some of the anomalies and distortions in the marketplace and provide a level playing field."

Mr D.P. Khandelia, President, Solvent Extractors' Association (SEA), also welcomed the Finance Minister's proposal to remove the excise duty of Re 1 a kg on edible oil and Rs 1.25 a kg on vanaspati.

He said this proposal would give relief to the vegetable oil industry. At the same time, he has also demanded that sale of refined oils in loose form should be discouraged.

On the Government's decision not to consider the profits from derivatives trading as speculative profit, he said, "This benefit should have been extended to commodities trading derivatives to encourage futures trading in commodities and hope, the Finance Minister would consider at the earliest."

Mr Rajesh Agrawal, Chairman of Indore-based Soybean Processors Association of India, while complimenting the Finance Minister for removal of excise duty refined edible oil said: "It has paved the way for a level playing field for the domestic edible oil industry vis-à-vis MNCs."

A spokesman for Vanaspati Manufacturers Association of India welcomed the abolition of Rs 1,250 a tonne excise duty on vanaspati. He, however, expressed concern at the continuing import of hydrogenated oil from outside the country at low rate of customs duty.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 2, 2005)
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