The fight must go on
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Monday,February 03 2020 [ Issue 1 February/ 2020 ]
The fight must go on
As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman began making the announcements on Saturday, the industry waited with bated breath, hoping for some positive news. The industry has been battling with the Ministry of Commerce & Industry for favourable policies and a cut in customs duty for both gold and diamonds. However, the sentiment of an expectant industry came crumbling down, as Sitharaman announced nothing in favour of the industry. On the other hand, the Government has proposed import duty on rough coloured gemstones from nil to 0.5 percent. This move will impact the 4 lakh workers in Rajasthan, the hub of processing and cutting of colored gem stones.

In over a decade, this has been the toughest year for the diamond industry. Along with liquidity issues, the burden of a high import duty, which is currently at 7.5 per cent, is weighing down the industry’s efficiency. There has been a 10 per cent decline in diamond studded jewellery and trading of small-sized diamonds is becoming a big issue, affecting India’s status as the world leader in cut and polished diamonds globally.

Already, we are witnessing India’s exports steadily declining along with several job losses. Companies are also shifting their bases to foreign markets to avoid bottlenecks that come with import duty. What is the silver lining? Unfortunately in this Budget, there is none. The fight must go on.

 
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