The Government has extended the duty entitlement passbook (DEPB) scheme into the forthcoming financial year that starts April 1, the Commerce Secretary, Mr G.K. Pillai, has said. “The Cabinet on Thursday extended the scheme in its present form till its next decision”, Mr Pillai told presspersons here. The DEPB scheme is to expire on March 31. A final decision on extending the scheme is expected in the next meeting of the Union Cabinet. Indications are that the scheme would be continued in its present form for one more year at least. Meanwhile, the Commerce Ministry on Thursday evening withdrew DEPB benefits on a host of items including cement, steel , manganese and ferro chrome to improve the supply situation in the domestic market. “Total number of items on which DEPB benefits have been withdrawn would be running into about 40-50” Mr Pillai said here today.