This refers to “Budget decision on customs duty hike to impact imports of $85 billion in a year” (February 13). Although curtailing imports to increase the revenue and reduce the outflow of foreign exchange may sound theoretically beneficial in the short term but it will not be a positive step in our long-term interest to promote a Make in India programme. Modern economies do not function in isolation. Current global trends point to overall consumer satisfaction, be it in the national or the international markets. The increase in customs duties will further lead to inflation, reduce marketability and cripple internal economic functioning as a whole. The rising costs will also increase unemployment. Further, other countries may raise their cost of imports adversely affecting our foreign trade. Prices are as important as quality of product to the customer. The policy of curtailing of imports by raising customs duty should be replaced by strengthening internal infrastructure to enable easier access to raw material at lower costs to promote Indian large industry. The promotion of employment need not be within the country alone. Exports of invisible products like nursing, teaching and provision of technical expertise is also provided to other countries and that increases foreign exchange inflow and mitigate the increase in import levels.
C Gopinath Nair Kochi
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