The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmersâ€™ Welfare in its recent gazette notification stated revising in the Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) fee on raw cotton imports.
The PQ inspection fee has been revised from Rs.2,500 for the first tonne of the consignment to Rs. 3,500, and from Rs. 75 to a whopping Rs. 2,000 for each additional tonne. PQ supervision charges also have been revised to Rs1,500 per consignment from Rs.1,000.
According to an industrialist, this has sent shock waves among textile industrialists here. The implication is huge, explaining the working. For instance, if 100 tonnes of raw cotton are imported, the total PQ fee payable as per the existing rate workout to Rs.10,925 â€” that is, Rs.2,500 x1 (tonne) + Rs.75 x 99 (tonnes) + Rs.1,000 (supervision fee).
But at the new rate, it would work out to Rs.2.03 lakh â€” Rs.3,500 x 1 (tonne) + Rs.2,000 x 99 (tonnes) + Rs.1,500. There is no justification for this.
As defined in the notification â€œPlantâ€, refers to a â€œliving plant or parts thereof, including the seed and the germplasm; and â€œplant productâ€ refers to un-manufactured material of plant origin, including grain, and those manufactured products that engender the risk off introduction and spread of pests.
Industry sources contend that raw cotton can neither be classified a plant nor a plant product and therefore the PQ fee on raw cotton is unjustifiable.
However, it remains to be seen how the industry would tide over the issue.
The Plant Quarantine Order came into force in 2003. This fee is payable at the PQ office at the time of clearance of the consignment from the port.
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