Union Ministry of Finance Current Affairs - 2019

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Govt scraps import duty on open cell TV panel used to make TV sets

In a bid to boost domestic manufacturing, the Central government has removed 5% custom duty that was imposed on import of open cell TV panel. Open cell TV panel are used in manufacturing of television sets such as LED TVs.

Key Highlights

As per the notification issued by Union Ministry of Finance in this regard the open cell, (15.6 inch and above), for use in the manufacture of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) TV panel would attract zero duty.

The government has also scrapped custom duty on import of Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA), Cell (glass board or substrate) and Chip on Film, which are used to manufacture open cell TV panels.

Open cell panel is an important part of TV manufacturing and covers 60-70% cost of the unit. The move to scraps import duty on open cell TV panel would also help to reduce the price of TV panel by around 3% as it would lower the input costs for TV makers.

Background

On 30 June 2017, the government had imposed a custom duty of 5% on import of such panel. Many TV makers including Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA) had opposed the increased duty, and have been complaining about a slump in demand and had requested government to waive it. TV makers have since then been complaining about a slump in demand.

Currently, open cells panels are not manufactured in India and TV companies rely on imports of these key components part of LED television sets. An import duty levied by government on open cell LED panels had also pushed some electronics makers to import TV sets from neighbouring markets like Vietnam and Thailand to avoid duties on open cell panels.

Centre sets up Task Force for drawing up National Infrastructure Pipeline

Central government constituted a task force for drawing up a roadmap for ‘National Infrastructure Pipeline’ (NIP) of Rs.100 lakh crore from financial year 2019-20 to 2024-25. The Task Force is headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Atanu Chakraborty would cover greenfield and brownfield projects costing above `Rs.100 crore each.

About Task Force

Objective:

To identify technically feasible and economically viable infrastructure projects that can be initiated during current fiscal year.

Task force would draw up a list of infrastructure projects that can be set rolling in 2019-20 as it looks at steps to tide over the economic slowdown.

Focus Areas of Task Force

Task Force will work on listing projects that can be included in pipeline for each of remaining 5 years. It would draw up a list of infrastructure projects and look for financially and technically viable projects that can be started in 2019-20.

It will also estimate annual infrastructure investment costs and guide ministries in identifying appropriate sources of financing as well as monitor projects to ensure minimisation of cost and time overrun. Although each ministry would be responsible for monitoring their respective projects in terms of cost and deadlines but the task force will suggest measures to monitor projects so that cost and time overrun is minimised.

Panel would also enable marketing of projects in pipeline through National Investment and Infrastructure Fund and India Investment Grid, among others.

It will submit its report by 31 October for fiscal year 2019-20 and on indicative pipeline for fiscal years 2021-25 by 31 December 2019.

Challenges:

To achieve gross domestic product (GDP) of $5 trillion by 2024-25, India needs to spend about $1.4 trillion (Rs.100 lakh crore) over these years on infrastructure. In past decade (FY 2008-17), India invested about $1.1 trillion on infrastructure.

To step-up annual infrastructure investment so that lack of infrastructure does not become a binding constraint Indian economy’s growth.