The television industry has welcomed the government's decision to scrap the customs duty on import of open cell TV panels, saying the move will boost domestic manufacturing.
In a late night notification on Tuesday, the finance ministry said "open cell, (15.6 inch and above), for use in the manufacture of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) TV panel", would attract nil duty.
TV makers say the move will help them reduce the manufacturing cost by up to 3 per cent, however, consumer prices are expected to remain same.
The announcement has come just ahead of the festive season sales and would positively impact the sales of LED TV panels.
"Industry welcomes this decision. This will ease the cost pressure on TV and the benefit once passed to the consumers will help the industry accelerate demand," Panasonic India and South Asia President and CEO Manish Sharma told PTI.
LG Electronics India said the government's decision will boost domestic manufacturing.
"This is a very positive development... it will certainly boost Make in India," said LG Electronics India Director- Home Entertainment Younchul Park.
Open cell panel is an important part of TV manufacturing and covers more than half the cost of the unit.
Sony India said reduction in duty would help enhance its efforts to increase domestic manufacturing of its TV range.
"The company has long been committed to the government’s Make in India initiative. This withdrawal of duty on open cell provides a strong boost to local manufacturing and will help us further enhance our efforts in this direction," said Sony India Managing Director Sunil Nayyar.
According to Haier India President Eric Braganza, the industry has been pushing for this for some time. TV market is slow, so anything that could ignite the growth is welcome.
When asked whether it would have any impact on TV price, Manish Sharma said currently inventories for festive season are already in place, however for fresh imports, the cost impact will be about 3 per cent.
"Our festival pricing is already in place which is attractive compared to the previous month's. Hence post season, this duty reduction will help us maintain the pricing at same levels with reduced cost pressures on industry," Sharma said.
Besides removing 5 per cent customs duty imposed on import of open cell TV panel, the government has waived customs duty on import of chip on Film, Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA) and Cell (glass board/ substrate), which are used to manufacture open cell TV panels.
All leading TV makers along with the Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association had been asking the government to waive it.
Indian TV market, which is estimated to be around Rs 22,000 crore is facing tough times due to slow demand.
Manufacturers like Samsung had shifted TV production lines to Vietnam using the Free Trade Agreement to import it.