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Equestrian

How the Budget 2023-24 will benefit Equestrian sports in India

Doing away with the import duty on warm-blooded horses will help the sport in India, believes EFI Sec-Gen Singh.

National Equestrian Championship
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National Equestrian Championship

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PTI

Updated: 3 Feb 2023 2:55 PM GMT

The government's decision to waive off import duty on warmblood horses, enabling Indian athletes to buy high-quality mounts at affordable prices, will help in improving the standard of the sport in the country, says Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) Secretary General Colonel Jaiveer Singh.

Warmbloods are a group of middle-weight horse types and breeds primarily originating in Europe. They have a lively temperament and excel in equestrian sports such as dressage, showjumping and eventing, unlike the Indian breed Kathiawari.

"The Indian breed is called Kathiawari but due to their size and temperament, they are not suited for equestrian sports," Singh told PTI.

"Now with the exemption, individuals can buy more expensive and better quality horses. Existing standards will improve with the import of better quality and grade horses," Singh said.

In equestrian, a horse is very important for a rider. It is equivalent to rifle for a shooter or a racquet for a tennis player. A decent warmblood's price starts from Rs 40 lakh with the importer having to pay a 30 per cent Basic Customs Duty, 12 per cent Integrated Goods and Services (IGST) and 10 per cent Social Welfare Surcharge, making it difficult for an individual rider to pursue the sport.

So, a horse worth Rs 40 lakh would actually cost 61 lakh and if the transport cost is added, it comes to nearly one crore. The exemption will bring the down the cost by 52 percent, according to Singh.

The EFI had been seeking an exemption on import duty for warmbloods since 2020 and on Wednesday the government announced it has waived the import duty on warmblood horses, starting February 2, 2023. However, the exemption, approved for five years in the annual budget, will only be extended to sports person of eminence.

According to the National Sports Code of India, medal winners in international events which are recognised by corresponding international bodies, Arjuna Awardees; athletes who have achieved up to 8th position in individual events or up to 4th position in team events in the open National Championship/National Games; and in case of junior players, the sportspersons who have achieved up to 8th position in individual events or upto 4th position in team events in the national championship are defined as sportspersons of eminence.

But Singh is confident the move will have a wider impact on the equestrian franternity in the country. "More people will take up the sport since it is still in the nascent stage of development in India with lots of promise at the international level," he added.

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