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The union commerce ministry, with an aim to reduce import of non-essential goods, has suggested restricting the purchase of tax-free alcohol to one bottle at duty-free shops, sources said.

“Purchase of cigarette cartons at duty-free shops should be prohibited,” the ministry further suggested.

Sources further informed that these recommendations are part of proposals made by the commerce ministry for the forthcoming Budget.

“These suggestions would be made public on February 1 by the union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman,” the sources added.

The recommendations are of significant importance as the Centre is looking at ways to curtail the import of non-essential goods into to rein in the trade deficit.

Inbound international passengers are presently allowed to purchase two litres of alcohol and a carton of cigarette from the duty-free shops.

“In many countries, international passengers are allowed to buy only one litre of alcohol and India is looking forward to adopting similar measures,” sources added.

In duty-free shops, inbound international passengers are allowed to purchase goods worth Rs 50,000 without paying any import duty.

The commerce ministry has also suggested an increase in customs duty on several products like paper, footwear, rubber items and toys for promoting ‘Make in India’ and boost manufacturing.


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