Khadi and Village Industries Commission hails new restrictions on agarbatti imports
Import policy of agarbatti and other odoriferous preparations which operate by burning is now revised from free to restricted, notified the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) on Sunday welcomed the government's decision to put restrictions on imports of agarbatti (incense sticks) and other similar products amid reports of significant increases in inbound shipments from China and Vietnam.
KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena had raised the issue during his meetings with Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari on August 29, 2019.
Import policy of agarbatti and other odoriferous preparations which operate by burning...is revised from free to restricted," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification on Saturday.
Importers of restricted category goods require licence from the government for import purpose.
"I was shocked to see that in 2016-17, we had established 2,831 projects of agarbatti making with the disbursement Rs 10.06 crore as margin money and created 22,648 direct employment in this field. Sadly, in 2017-18 and 2018-19, we could establish only 279 and 397 units respectively, which has created a heavy loss in employment in the agarbatti-making industry," Saxena said.
Subhash Bhatia, who heads the Raw Agarbatti Manufacturers' Association (RAMA), said the price of raw agarbatti available to the local perfumers, that had gone down from Rs 70/kg in 2009 to Rs 48/kg in 2018, has been up by at least Rs 5/kg in less than a day of this notification. It will create not less than 20 lakh jobs in some months.
Corroborating similar views, Bikram Singh Deka of Guwahati (Assam) and Bhavik Sah of Ahmedabad (Gujarat) said that the recent amendment of import policy of agarbatti and other odoriferous preparations would not only pave way for village industry units involved in agarbatti-making but also check the import dependency of Indian perfumers to a significant level.
Saxena further said that KVIC would establish at least 50,000 Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) units of agarbatti-making across the nation in the present fiscal.
Imports of agarbatti and other odoriferous preparations stood at $17.75 million (about Rs 125 crore) during April-June, 2019. It was $83.58 million (about Rs 585 crore) in 2018-19, as against $84.95 million (about Rs 595 crore) in the previous fiscal.
Agarbatti imports from China dipped to $6.39 million in 2018-19 from $8.53 million in the previous fiscal.