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  • Import duty on raw cashew draws protest

    Mar 19th, 2016

    Palasa and Kasibugga Cashew Manufacturing Units Association on Thursday strongly objected imposition of heavy tax burden on the imports of raw materials from abroad.

    The association representatives and Srikakulam MP Kinjarapu Rammohan met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely and Union Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi seeking withdrawal of the customs duty, special additional duty and educational cess on the cashew raw material. The industry will be in deep trouble with the 9.5 per cent tax burden, they said.

    ‘A big blow’

    According to association president Malla Srinivasa Rao, the Union government’s decision was a big blow to the Palasa cashew industry which has been providing employment to more than 50,000 persons directly and indirectly. There are over 4,000 cashew industries in the country spread over 14 States — Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and others. The total raw cashew nut production in this country is 6 lakhs metric tonnes while Industry is currently processing about 16 lakhs metric tonnes. There is a shortfall of 10 lakhs MT which has to be made good by imports from Africa. These 4,000 units are mostly rural based and are providing gainful employment to over 4 lakh women and these units largely depend on imported nuts for round the year employment. The industry is importing raw material from over 10 s countries with non-availability of required cashew nuts locally.

    The free imports have helped the growth of this traditional industry in several States, including Andhra Pradesh. The industry heads feared that the tax burden would lead to unethical practices at every level. The manufacturers are already in trouble with the frequent raids by the Commercial Tax Department and the AP Pollution Control Board. Mr. Srinivasa Rao hoped that the Union government would respond positively and rescue the cashew industry in Srikakulam district.