Hyderabad: While there is zero duty for masks and gloves for importers but those who make these products in India will have to pay goods and services tax ranging from 5 to 11 per cent.
Indian manufacturers of masks and gloves are very upset that no import duty will be levied on these items while they pay goods and services tax ranging from 5 to 11 per cent.
Consumers will not be affected because of the maximum retail price but Indian manufacturers will have to struggle to manage their costs of production, distribution and profit margin.
For example, there will be zero import duty on gloves from Malaysia while for gloves made in India the retailer pays 11 per cent GST. This will put Indian manufacturers at a cost disadvantage and they will be last on the list of corporate and government buyers.
Due to the policies of the government in the past, many manufacturers had moved to trading and assembling of imported products. But with the Covid-19 crisis in the last two months, many of them had returned to domestic manufacturing. This was good for the domestic market as there would be more players.
But this decision of the government on import duties has made them realize that investment in manufacturing will not allow them to cover costs of production.
Price of raw materials has risen sharply in India and due to the lockdown there is very little manpower, and movement of goods from one place to another is affected.
Rajiv Nath, forum coordinator of Association of Indian Medical Devices Industry said, “We understand that there is a shortage of masks, gloves, personal protection equipment and other medical devices in India. We support government in ensuring that these shortages are met. But the benefits extended to importers must also be extended to Indian manufacturers.”
Bold policy decisions to end 80 to 90 per cent import dependency is the need of the hour and these steps can be taken now, urge manufacturers.
“Make in India of medical devices is already suffering and by exempting duty on imports, Indian manufacturing is at a further competitive disadvantage. This is the general mood of local industry,” said Dr G S K Velu, managing director of Trivitron.
Indian manufacturers have been urging that good quality, safety regulations and judicious price controls of medical devices will make health care affordable and accessible to thousands in the country. The importers lobby is least interested in affordable healthcare, and is mainly interested in profits, allege Indian manufacturers.