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Gem sector finds hope

Our Bureau

MUMBAI, Feb. 28

BUT for the impact of a looming US-backed war against Iraq, India's gem and jewellery industry would have enough reasons to celebrate on account of the Union Budget 2003-04.

What the industry had been seeking has finally come through. In a bid to `nurture' this industry, the Finance Ministry has reduced customs duty on imports of rough, coloured gem stones to nil from five per cent, and on semi-processed, half-cut or broken diamonds to nil from 15 per cent.

Customs duty on import of cut and polished diamonds and gem stones has also been reduced from 15 per cent to 5 per cent.

Besides, the Ministry has extended the benefits under Sections 10A and 10B of the Income Tax in case of cutting and polishing of diamonds and gems.

Mr Sanjay Kothari, Chairman, Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), said the acceptance of "no seizure of stock-in-trade" was a positive move providing great respite to the industry.

"The Government has rightly appreciated the need of the industry. This favourable move will give further boost to the gem and jewellery export sector,'' Mr Kothari said.

Mr Praveen Shankar Pandya, Managing Director, Revashankar Gems Ltd, said the budgetary proposals provide an impetus to gold jewellery exports.

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