No plan to curb import of chemicals and petrochemicals: Govt

PTI New Delhi | Updated on February 11, 2020

Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister DV Sadananda Gowda   -  V Sreenivasa Murthy

The government has no proposal to curb import of chemicals and petrochemicals by raising Customs duty, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister DV Sadananda Gowda said in Parliament on Tuesday.

The import of chemicals and petrochemicals is on the rise in the last five years due to insufficient domestic supply, he said.

“Currently, there is no proposal under consideration of the Department of Revenue to increase import duty to cut down imports,” Gowda said.

Import of chemicals and petrochemicals rose to 12.66 million tonne in 2018-19 fiscal from 12.34 million tonne in 2017-18. It stood at 11.33 million tonne in 2016-17, 11.04 million tonne in 2015-16 and 10.10 million tonne in 2014-15 fiscal, he said.

“This increase of imports of chemicals and petrochemicals is due to insufficient domestic production capacity to meet the growing domestic demand, comparatively higher cost of production in the country, also due to comparatively smaller scale of operations,” Gowda noted.

The Minister also made it clear that the government has no plan to increase exports incentives under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS).

Import of antibiotic raw materials

In this direction, the government has withdrawn exemption of Customs duty on certain categories of bulk drugs/APIs, which are used in the manufacturing of some of the antibiotics, to provide a level-playing field to domestic manufacturers, Gowda said.

“The policies formulated by the Government from time to time are designed to minimise country’s dependence on imports and to give fillip to indigenous manufacturing,” he added.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals has formulated a scheme, namely ‘‘Assistance to bulk drug industry for common facility centre’’, for providing assistance to bulk drug segment in any upcoming bulk drug park promoted by state governments/state corporations, he added.

“An inter-ministerial task force was also constituted under the chairmanship of the Minister of State of Chemicals and Fertilizers on April 18, 2018 to formulate a roadmap for enhanced production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in the country,” Gowda said.

Ministry of health and family welfare and CDSCO have also various measures to encourage indigenous manufacturing of drugs, he added.

Published on February 11, 2020

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