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GJEPC presents pre-budget expectations

Posted on Jan 29, 04:41PM | IBNS

Mumbai, Jan 29 : With 28 days to go for the Union Budget, the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) announced its expectations for the Indian Gem and Jewellery sector with the objective of increasing global exports, identifying new trade partners and promoting diamond Jewellery in India.

With the increasing import duties on Gold and other raw material such as Cut and Pol diamonds, the industry has also requested for eased tax norms, given the already slowed down economy.

The Council has strongly recommended the implementation of the Benign Assessment Tax Procedure and therefore reduction of the net profit to 2.5pc of turnover instead of 6pc for computation of Income Tax.

Commenting on the pre-budget recommendations, Vipul Shah, Chairman of Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council said, "Our aim has always been to stimulate greater foreign and domestic participation and also relieve the industry from the various challenges it currently faces.

"The most significant reform on the agenda is the correct implementation of Benign Assessment Procedure and we are hopeful that the Ministry will pay heed to this long overdue policy change."

He further said, "On a positive note, the import of rough diamonds has shown a healthy increase, resulting in high level of diamond jewellery manufacturing activity, higher jewellery exports and eventually a positive balance of payments for the country."

"Reduction in the Gold import duty and introduction of Presumptive Taxation are our key recommendations to the Government," said Pankaj Parikh, Vice Chairman of Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

"With import duty on Gold having increased by 600 percent in the last one year, this will drastically affect the lower and middle class end- consumers, who can no more afford to buy gold jewellery and hence will opt for either silver or gold plated jewellery.

"Moreover this extreme escalation in import duty will also pose a challenge to the Jewellery industry at large who will now have to be highly competitive to create very light weight jewellery to retain their existing client base.

"Needless to say that this kind of spiraling duty will give rise to smuggling of Gold bullion and hinder the growth prospects of the industry," he said.

Budget Expectations by the Gem and Jewellery Export Council:

a. While the industry would like a Presumptive Taxation regime in the long run, it would request the Finance Ministry to start by reducing the net profit to 2.5pc of turnover instead of 6pc for computation of Income tax, as mandated under the Benign Assessment Procedure (BAP).

b. Allow for duty free import quota for cut and polished diamonds to the tune of 15pc of the previous year's exports. This is considering the levy of duty 2pc duty on Cut and Pol diamonds in January 2012 resulting in lowered trading activity in India.

c. Establishment of Special Notified Zones for import and trading of rough diamonds

i. This is applicable to foreign diamond mining companies in such zones; whose net income is fixed and taxes are paid only on invoices raised to Indian companies

ii. This is with the objective of attracting international mining companies and trading players to sell Rough Diamonds in India
d. Indian Gem and Jewellery Industry should be declared as zero-rated indirect tax regime

i. All duties collected in way of Service Tax, VAT or GST should be refunded by way of duty drawbacks

e. Establish a special fund by RBI to the tune of USD 3-5 billion for the refinance of borrowing given to export industries, which have a high import content of more than 70pc of their exports.

f. Re-introduce a 2pc interest subvention scheme on rupee export credit for Gem and Jewellery sector

Gem and Jewellery Performance for 2012:

The highlight of the performance review for 2012 indicates a positive balance of payments maintained by the Indian G and J sector due to the increased manufacturing and exports of gem and jewellery.

There was an increase in the rough diamond in absolute carat volume resulting to a 3.72pc growth over previous year. Total imports of raw material has gone up by 2.55pc ; implying a higher level of manufacturing activity in India.

Overall exports of Gems and Jewellery in 2012 dropped by 17pc ; which can be mainly attributed to the dip in exports of Cut and Pol diamonds by 37.3pc due to decrease in trading activity in India because of the 2pc import duty on Cut and Pol diamonds.

On the other side, silver has emerged as the preferred metal globally.

India continues to be the highest importer for USA as compared to other markets, despite the lowered trade activity with USA.

Emerging markets such as China, Middle East and Russia are slowly contributing to the exports revenue of India.

The Exports to USA stand at 6.1 USD bn; higher than that from Belgium and Israel. India continues to dominate its contribution to the USA's import basket in the Jewellery category at 23.4pc .

The Council said it is assisting the Indian G and J players in their efforts to explore China, Russia and Middle East as new avenues for exports.

The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council is an all - India apex body for Gem and Jewellery representing about 5,500 members.

Set up in 1966, it operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.