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The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has very high expectations from the Union Budget 2023-24. It feels that if their demands are met it will boost the industry and create more employment.
The GJEPC regional chairman Vijay Manguki told IANS that the council has submitted a memorandum to the Union Finance Ministry demanding reduction in import duty on cut and polished diamonds; the present duty is 5 percent, it needs to be brought down to 2.5 %. The same benefit should be extended to polished gemstones also.
The other demand of the sector is that the Central government should give an allowance for the sale of rough diamonds in Special Notified Zones. If the rough diamonds are sold, the importer should be exempted/clarified of the 2% Equalization levy.
After natural diamonds, the lab grown diamonds demand is peaking. Considering that, it is necessary that these diamonds are made affordable, which can be done by abolishing import duty on seeds used for manufacturing lab grown diamonds. It has also requested to abolish import duties on the machinery used for the manufacture of lab grown diamonds.
Along with the lab grown diamonds, diamond studded jewellery is also in high demand in the domestic market. Unfortunately the precious metals' domestic price is too high because of the high import duty, which needs to be slashed. For this the government should cut the import duty from 12.5% to 4% on gold/platinum and silver.
Whereas to protect the domestic jewellery market, it has suggested that the basic customs duty on gold/silver/platinum jewellery should be increased from 20% to 25%.
The sector has demanded the introduction of a 'Rates & Taxes Refund' mechanism on the lines of GST. It wants that the duty drawbacks should be aligned to the import duty at the time of export.
The industry is expecting the Union Finance Ministry to cover the Gems and Jewellery sector under the Manufacture and Other Operations in Customs Warehouse (MOOWR) scheme. Under the scheme, importers are getting the benefit of customs duty deferment with no interest liability. There is no investment threshold or export obligation. One has to pay duty only if the final goods are sold in the domestic market. On the export of finished goods, the duty is fully remitted.
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