Hyderabad, Jan 16 (PTI) Industry body Assocham today urged the Centre to impose 10 per cent customs duty on import of hardwood chemical pulp and bleached chemi-thermo mechanical pulp (BCTMP) to encourage domestic pulp production.Also Read - Highlights India vs New Zealand 3rd T20I Match : IND Win By 73 Runs, NZ Whitewashed 3-0

According to a statement by the body, the move will help create jobs and promote overall economic development of the country’s vast rural hinterland housing pulpwood plantations. Also Read - Highlights | India vs New Zealand 2nd T20I Match: IND Beat NZ By 7 Wickets, Clinch T20I Series

“These measures would help energise creation of sustainable sources of fibre required by the Indian pulp and paper industry,” Assocham said. Also Read - Highlights IND vs NZ 1st T20I Match: Suryakumar Yadav's Fifty & Rishabh Pant's Gutsy Knock Guide India Home

The statement on BCTMP was part of the industry body’s pre-budget recommendations on indirect taxes submitted to the Union government.

The industry body has also sought policy measures to facilitate private sector participation in plantation development programmes.

Besides, the chamber has recommended that import of capital goods required by the paper and paperboard industry for technological up-gradation, especially aimed at environmental protection and for compliance with the Corporate Responsibility for Environmental Protection (CREP), be permitted at “nil” rate of customs duty.

It has suggested that exports by manufactures, who have adopted environment-friendly technology, be granted additional incentives such as cash incentive of 5 per cent of free on board (FOB) value.

It is estimated that more than 1.25 million metric tonnes (MMT) of pulp, approximately valued at USD 710 million (about Rs 4,600 crore), is imported into India each year.

Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said instead of generating sizeable employment opportunities within the country, millions of jobs are being exported to the nations from where pulp is imported.

The Assocham justified customs duty exemption on import of softwood pulp, saying it cannot be grown in India and thus its requirement will have to be met through shipments from abroad.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.