'Import duty has caused surge in gold smuggling'

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 08, 2012 13:50 hrs

Kolkata, Nov 8 (IANS) The imposition of four percent duty on import of gold from this financial year has led to a surge in smuggling of the yellow metal, an industry head said here Thursday.

"The imposition of four percent import duty on gold will take the country back to the black days of gold smuggling. Soon after the move came into force, gold worth Rs.942 crore was seized while being smuggled in just the first two months of the financial year," said Bachhraj Bamalwa, chairman of the All India Gems and Jewellers' Trade Federation.

Speaking at the 'Business Meet on Gems and Jewellery' organised by the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bamalwa also rued the absence of government incentives for jewellers.

"The gems and jewellery industry is worth Rs.3,50,000 crore and over 20 million people are employed directly and indirectly. But the government is yet to give us the label of an industry," said Bamalwa.

"In spite of the size of the industry there are no government incentives for the employees. The government should consider our plight before imposing taxes and duties," Bamalwa said.

He also scoffed at allegations that the industry generated black money.

"Almost 85 percent of the raw material for the industry is legitimately imported. There is no question of our industry generating black money. The government has a misconception regarding black money," he said.

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