12/10/2018 11:19 AM IST | Updated 12/10/2018 11:19 AM IST

Smart Watches, Communication Items May Get More Expensive As Government Doubles Import Duty

The government had also raised duties on refrigerators, air conditioners, and washing machines, two weeks ago.

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A file photo of finance minister Arun Jaitley.

The government has increased the import duty on several products used in the communications industry in order to curb imports. A notification issued on Thursday night said that the import duty on smart watches has doubled from 10% to 20%, which could make them costlier.

Import duties for a range of telecom equipment has also been increased, and the finance ministry also barred the use of imported electronic intermediate goods for telecom equipment made locally, Hindustan Times reported.

The government had raised duties two weeks ago, increasing the import costs for "non-essential" items such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and washing machines, which are all likely to get more expensive as well. While the import duty on these items doubled from 10% to 20%, it was increased from 10% to 15% for speakers, and from 20% to 25% for footwear, Livemint noted.

"Our main worry is the current account deficit, balance of payments gap and the rupee. These are the three things which we are watching... We have a strategy in place. If need be, the government can sort of intervene in different ways also to remove the balance of payments gap," an unnamed government official told The Economic Times.

These steps are being taken because the rupee has fallen by more than 16% so far this year, touching a historic low of 74.50 to a dollar on Thursday.