India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has expressed disappointment with the nation’s latest Union Budget, adding that failure to reduce high duties on gold and diamonds will result in further job losses.
The council had been lobbying for a reduction in import duty on polished diamonds in a bid to boost the value of subsequent shipments out of the country. It had hoped this move would stem the decline in India’s polished exports, which fell 15% year on year in May.
However, the proposed cut from 7.5% to 2.5% did not materialize in the budget announced on July 5. Instead, the National Democratic Alliance-led government said it would be increasing import duty on gold and precious metals from 10% to 12.5% — a move the GJEPC believes will have a negative effect on India’s wider jewelry sector.
“The gem and jewelry industry is going through very tough times, with a decline in exports and job losses, and the industry expected some positive announcement as encouragement to our sector,” said GJEPC chairman Pramod Agrawal.