Our Bureau

Bangalore, Feb. 28

The liquor industry has said that the Union Budget has not directly addressed any of the issues relating to the sector.

The UB Group President and Chief Financial Officer, Mr Ravi Nedungadi, told Business Line that even though there have been reductions in duties, including reduction in duties on packaging material and machinery, there will be no immediate impact on the industry. SAB Miller's Managing Director for India, Mr Richard Rushton, said that the reduction of basic customs duty from 15 per cent to 12.5 per cent and then adding a countervailing duty of 4 per cent do not lead to any benefits to the trading community. Therefore, this move is unlikely to provide any impetus to single brand FDI in retailing, since imports would become more expensive. In its budget wish list, the IMFL (Indian made foreign liquor) lobby had asked the Government to retain the current level of duty on imported bottled liquor to provide a level playing field for the domestic beverage alcohol industry. However, no specific measures have been announced in the Budget.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 1, 2006)
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