Sat projects tax holiday stays; duties down on OFCs

MUMBAI: Tax holiday benefits for satellite and telecom projects will continue. Cable companies have also received reliefs in customs and import duties.

In a move that may benefit projects like Subhash Chandra's Essel Group's Agrani, which are currently in the pipeline, the finance minister has extended the benefit for one more year till 31 March 2004, saying that it is "well understood that such projects do take a considerable time to get completed."

Customs duty on optical fibre cable has been brought down from 25 per cent to 20 per cent. Import duty on raw materials for the manufacture of optical fibre has been brought down from 30 per cent to 15 per cent.

Capital equipment customs duty in Telecom and IT is down from 25 to 15 per cent. IT companies to continue enjoying Sec 10A and 10B tax sops under the Income Tax Act. The sops have been extended to include mergers and acquisitions which was not there earlier. This means providing incentives for M&As.

Domestic companies will now have to pay 12.5 per cent dividend tax, but the same has been abolished in the hands of the investors.

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