The Centre on Wednesday increased customs duties on 19 items, including air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, footwear and aviation turbine fuel. Thus, they goods as well as flying is all set to get more expensive.

In a press release, the government said it has raised customs duties on these items to curb non-essential imports in an effort to narrow the current account deficit. The current account deficit is the difference between the value of the goods and services a country imports and those it exports.

The Centre said the increase in customs duties will come into effect from September 27. It added that the total value of imports of these items was around Rs 86,000 crore in the 2017-’18 financial year.

India’s current account deficit widened to $15.8 billion (Rs 1.14 lakh crore) during the second quarter of the 2018-’19 financial year from $14.9 billion (Rs 1.08 lakh crore) a year earlier, and constitutes 2.4% of the Gross Domestic Product.

On September 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held discussions with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel and other officials to consider measures to check the current account deficit. It was at this meeting that the decision to cut non-essential imports was taken.