The South India Cement Manufacturers Association (SICMA) has asked Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to impose higher import duty for clinker and cement to India in the upcoming budget.
The association representatives met Sitharaman and indicated that the Indian manufacturers are unable to export to neighbouring countries as they have imposed anti-dumping duties on cement from India, while India is providing free access to imports.
“South India, with its large limestone deposits, has excess cement capacity. We, therefore, request the Finance Minister to impose higher import duty for import of clinker and cement,” said N Srinivasan, president of SICMA. Sitharaman had met with representatives of various industry associations in Tamil Nadu including micro and small enterprises, textiles, cement, handloom, hotel and poultry, and industry chambers in Chennai on Friday.
The Association in its representation had cited that the region contributed to 40 per cent or 180 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of the country’s total cement capacity. “Around 35-40 per cent of the limestone is also found in South India. Other parts of the country like North, Central, and East India will become a deficit in cement production in a few years. Hence, we request the government to facilitate the movement of cement from the surplus Southern state to deficit area either by providing either telescopic railway freight or some other method,” the association said in its representation.
The cement industry contributes around Rs 30,000 crore to the government exchequer per year in the form of good and service tax. According to SICMA, during his meeting, the outbreak of the second wave and the unprecedented rains across the country for a longer period affected the hopes raised by a better Budget last year for the cement industry.
“It is our fervent hope that with the economic recovery gaining ground and the economy firmly placed on a growth path, you will present again an expansionary Budget for 2022-23 with renewed thrust on investing in capital assets and infrastructure projects so as to give a fillip to demand generation and increased private consumption and revive the private investment cycle”.