Ahead of the festive season, the government has scrapped import duty on open cell TV panel used tp make television sets — a move aimed at lowering input costs for TV makers. The industry has seen a slump, of late.

According to a TOI report, the decision to remove the 5% customs duty will help in reducing the manufacturing cost by around 3%. The companies are also seeking a cut in GST rates for TVs above the screen size of 32-inch.

The finance ministry in a notification said customs duty on “open-cell (15.6-inch and above), for use in the manufacture of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) TV panels” will be nil as against 5 per cent import duty previously.

Open-cell panels make up for over 60-70 per cent of the cost of manufacturing LED TV sets. Most TV makers import these 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.

The other goods for use in the manufacture of open-cell of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) TV panels of heading 8529 would also attract nil duty. These include Chip on Film, Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA) and Cell (glass board/substrate).

“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.

Indian TV market, which is estimated to be around Rs 22,000 crore, is facing tough times owing to slow demand.

In the 2008 Union Budget, the government had doubled customs duty on imported LCD and LED TV panels to 15% from 7.5%. The duty on ‘open cells’ was hiked to 10%. The duty was halved to 5% as the industry demanded an immediate rollback. Now that 5% duty, too. has been scrapped.

Soon after the duty hike, Samsung had shifted its TV production lines to Vietnam using the Free Trade Agreement to import it, which came as a major blow to the government’s Make-in-India initiative.