New Delhi,6 May:(Rajya Sabha):In this year’s budget (2008-09), a concessional excise duty @8% has been provided on all pharmaceuticals including drugs and medicines. General SSI exemption is also available to pharma sector. Further, specified life saving drugs and bulk drugs for their manufacture attracts nil/5% basic customs duty. Such drugs are also exempted from excise duty. In addition, Government had also provided concessional rate of 5%/nil basic customs duty on specified R&D equipment for pharma and bio-technology sectors, for importers/manufacturers having research and development wing registered with the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, in the Ministry of Science and Technology.This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Shri S.S. Palanimanickam in reply to a question raised by Shri Banwari Lal Kanchhal in Rajya Sabha today.