The government has eased the norms for Customs duty exemption on equipment for road developers. Now, road developers will not require certification from the road ministry or National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for availing Customs duty exemption on specified goods. And, if the developers sell the equipment within five years, they will have to pay Customs duty on the depreciated value of the equipment, according to the Budget announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday. M Murali, director general, National Highway Builders Federation, said developers were not able to sell the machinery that came for projects funded by multilateral agencies like the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank, as there was a clause that after the use, one can't sell the machinery. “All that machinery have become scrap now; machines over 30 years old have also been lying unused in warehouses. Now, developers can sell the machines in the open market without paying any customs duty,” Murali said.
Murali is of the view there has to be some authority for providing such certification. Budget 2014-15 has put the road sector on a fast track. The budgetary support to the road and highways sector increased by about 13.48 per cent to Rs 28,881 crore for the current financial year. The total plan outlay stands at Rs 37,881 crore, including an IEBR (internal and extra budgetary resource) of Rs 9,000 crore for 2014-15, according to the Budget documents. "During the current financial year, a target of NH (national highway) construction of 8,500 km will be achieved,” Jaitley said in his Budget speech on Thursday. The government will also initiate work on select expressways parallel to the development of industrial corridors. Rs 500 crore has been set aside for NHAI for project preparation.