|Speech of Shri
Finance Minister, Government of India
27th February, 1999
Small Scale Industries
66. Mr. Speaker, Sir, my budget proposals also contain a package for the Small Scale Industry (SSI) sector consisting of the following components:
67. Under the current procedure, all manufacturing units are required to pay excise duty at the time of clearance of goods from their manufacturing premises. As a measure of further simplification of administrative procedures, I propose to permit SSI units to pay excise duty on a monthly basis with effect from 1.6.1999. Besides constituting a significant step in the simplification of procedures, this change will also improve the liquidity position of manufacturing units in the SSI Sector.
68. I am proposing a similar procedural relaxation in respect of the requirement of maintenance of excise records by factories. Henceforth, factories paying more than Rs.5 crore excise duty in a year, will not be required to maintain their records in a specific format prescribed by the excise department; and, the records maintained in the normal course of their functioning would be accepted as adequate. This amendment will take effect from 1.6.99.
69. Currently, there are several commodities, which are enjoying either total exemption from excise duty or are enjoying concessional excise duty. These concessions were sanctioned in the past with reference to the specific circumstances relating to that commodity prevailing at that point of time. With the lowering of general rate of duties, the need for such exemptions and concessions has abated. I propose to set up an Expert Committee to examine and advise on where the exemptions should be retained and where they should be integrated into the new rate structure. Their report should be available for consideration before the next budget.
70. As Honble Members are aware, Government is empowered to grant exemptions from excise duty on an adhoc basis. I do not consider such wide discretion necessary. Hence, I propose to abolish Governments power to grant adhoc exemptions of excise duty except for goods of strategic nature, or for charitable purposes. I propose abolition of similar powers on the customs duty side also.