Skilled gold artisans are staring at the prospect of job losses due to lack of demand for jewellery as the yellow metal has become costlier, the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) said on Monday.
A statement issued by the GJC said the import duty of 12.5 per cent plus Goods and Services Tax (GST) of three per cent have made gold jewellery costlier, thereby impacting consumer sentiment, leading to the postponement of purchase decisions.
So, the GJC sought rollback in import duty on gold from 12.5 per cent to 10 per cent, besides lower GST on jewellery.
In the Union Budget for 2019-20, the customs duty on imported gold was raised from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent, while GST on jewellery fixed at three per cent as compared to one per cent in the erstwhile VAT regime.
Shaankar Sen, Vice-Chairman of GJC, said the hike in custom duty has resulted in tremendous job losses and the industry is in complete chaos due to rising gold price. “Millennials are shying away from the industry. The GST, which is three per cent on gems and jewellery industry and the custom duty of 12.5 per cent makes gold dearer.”
The GJC recommended to reduce the GST to one per cent from three per cent as lower tax will result in generating more revenue.
“On one hand, the government talks about taking Indian craftsmanship to the world, while on the other hand its policies are making our skilled artisans leave the business with all their learning, experience and expertise,” Sen said, adding high customs duty is also leading to smuggling of gold.
Besides, the GJC recommended a comprehensive gold policy to save the sector and jobs of 55 lakh workers. Sen said the council has urged the government that production of PAN card on purchases should be raised from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
(With PTI inputs)