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Exporters to get new duty refund scheme this week

2021-08-16 17:40:52
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Exporters to get new duty refund scheme this week

The government is set to notify the new duty refund scheme for exporters — Refund of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) — this week, with a final clearance from commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal expected in a day or two.

The scheme, meant to replace World Trade Organization (WTO) non-compliant incentives, was implemented in January but exporters have been waiting to get their dues for taxes paid by them for the last eight months. A notification will partially end the agonising wait, which has increased their fund requirement as the Centre has held back their claims.

While commerce secretary B V R Subrahmanyam had said that the scheme will be implemented, some paperwork is yet to be completed after the commerce and finance ministries agreed to widen the scope of the scheme to cover all products, which also required higher budgetary allocation. The two ministries had earlier agreed to increase the allocation from the originally allocated Rs 13,000 crore to Rs 17,000 crore.

Last week, the government had notified the Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL) scheme, a similar mechanism, to allow textile exporters to get a rebate on central and state taxes till March 2024.

According to industry estimates the government owes around Rs 8,000 crore to exporters in unpaid RoDTEP bills, with another Rs 3,500-4,000 crore arrears on account of RoSCTL. Further, around Rs 16,000 crore of payments from the now defunct Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) are due for April-December 2020. So, exporters are demanding payments of close to Rs 28,000 crore just from these three schemes.

Exporters have been complaining of the government sitting on tax refunds and arrears from earlier schemes such as Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS) and MEIS that were abandoned after the US dragged India to the WTO, arguing that they were not compliant with global trade rules.

Government sources said refunds could be handy at a time when costs such as those on fuel and freight have gone up due to global as well as domestic price dynamics.

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