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MNRE reduces effective custom duty back to zero after increment in Budget
Following the Union Budget announcement that photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules would now incur customs duty, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) clarified that the effective basic custom duty would be zero. The Budget had a provision that levied a 20 per cent basic customs duty on PV cells and modules. A notice issued by the MNRE also asked solar manufacturers to list items they would like to be exempted from the list. The budget had split the tariffs into two categories- unassembled solar cells, or solar cells assembled into modules or panels; both of which would incur a duty of 20 per cent. Earlier, materials falling under either of these categories were considered the same and did not attract any basic custom duty. The MNRE had taken the issue up with the Ministry of Finance, who suggested creating a list for machinery or capital goods that are required for setting up of manufacturing solar PV modules. Following a consultation with the Department of Heavy Industries, the MoF suggested that wafers, ingots, and polysilicon required for setting up the PV cells can be considered for exemption and included in the list. The final day for solar manufacturers to submit their suggestions is February 20, according to the directive.