Sinha chants IT mantra: S-BIT scheme not announced

By : |April 9, 1999 0

As far as hardware industry is concerned, it’s disappointing
that the S-BIT Scheme is not yet announced.

The IT task force gave its report to the Prime Minister
on November 3, 1998 and the Group of Ministers recommended it to
the Prime Minister, with some modifications, on February 18, 1999.

We do expect the scheme to be announced in next
few weeks. Only reason it wasn’t announced at the budget could be
the scheme has not yet received Cabinet clearance.

The total duty on computer systems has gone up to
43.2 percent as compared to the earlier figure of 41.7 percent.

However, the good news is that duties on most of
the components have come down. There is no import duty surcharge
on computer systems, but the much-awaited zero duty on ICs has not
come about.

For the telecom sector, there’s not been any great
news. The long-term demand of telecom industry for tax holiday has
not been announced.

On the positive side, there has been reduction in
duty on ICs, microchips, fiber optics, telecom equipment that will
make some telecom equipment cheaper.

On the flip side, telecom projects getting duty
exemption have been brought under the duty regime by imposing a
5 percent duty.

The promising note of the Finance Minister’s speech
was that he was speaking `Dil Se’ and was concerned that the film
industry should not say, ‘Hum Apke Hain Kaun’. The lobby of I&B
Ministry, Pramod Mahajan has really worked and a new section 80
HHF has been introduced for income tax exemption to export of film,
movie and music software.

It’s great news in this era of convergence wherein
content development would become a major industry in our country
and export of such content would not only bring valued Foreign Exchange,
but also provide great amount of employment back home.

Overall, the budget was music to the software industry.
As somebody said, “S for Sinha; S for software and S for superpower”.
One should see another year of 50 percent growth in the software
sector.

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