Government raises import duty on gold jewellery to 15%

Government raises import duty on gold jewellery to 15%

Last Updated: Tue, Sep 17, 2013 13:15 hrs
Customer looks in mirror after wearing gold earring inside jewellery shop in Hyderabad

India pushed import duty on gold jewellery up by half to 15 percent, the finance ministry said on Tuesday, setting it higher than raw gold duty in a move aimed more at protecting the domestic jewellery industry than stemming bullion imports.

India imported gold jewellery worth $137.57 million in the four months from April to July this year -- a fraction of overall bullion imports, which were $2.9 billion in July alone.

The government has curbed gold imports through measures including three duty hikes this year to a record 10 percent and the central bank has put tight restrictions on importers that have sharply curtailed supplies.

India, the world's biggest buyer of bullion, had imported a record 162 tonnes in May and creating a headache for the government which is trying to curb a wide current account deficit and support a weak rupee.

Gold is the biggest non-essential item in India's import bill but jewellery is a tiny fraction of the purchases.

The hike in import duty on jewellery had been a demand from the industry to ensure the viability of the domestic jewellery manufacturing, and avoid imports of cheaper jewellery from Thailand, Malaysia or elsewhere.

More from Sify: