New Delhi, March 4 IANS | 5 months ago

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma Tuesday said he has requested the finance ministry to ease curbs on gold imports as it hurt the gems and jewellery industry and exports.


Addressing a media conference here, Sharma said he had taken up the issue with Finance Minister P Chidambaram and asked for easing the curbs.

"We have to have a balance. Over-regulation, too much of tariffs, lead to another problem. It leads to smuggling," he said.

Sharma said gems and jewellery industry, a major contributor to India's exports, has been hit by the gold import curbs.

"We have to ensure adequate availability of gold for the gems and jewellery industry, which is a very important sector for our exports," he said.

Last year, the government hiked import duty on gold to a record high of 10 percent and put a number of other curbs, in a bid to discourage imports of the precious metal.

High gold imports had pushed the country's current account deficit to a record high of over $88 billion in the financial year 2012-13.

Chidambaram last month said the current account deficit is likely to come down to $45 billion in the current financial year ending March 31, largely due to lower gold imports.

(Posted on 04-03-2014)