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Gold merchants urge Union Minister to help set up jewellery park in Kerala

Association that represents around 7,000 members says the project will have “immense benefits and long-term prospects

The All Kerala Gold and Silver Merchants’ Association (AKGSMA) has appealed to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to facilitate the setting up of an industrial park for the gem and jewellery sector in Kerala, which can be a major production hub in the country.

The association, representing around 7,000 members, says the project will have “immense benefits and long-term prospects,” especially in public revenue. The appeal has been highlighted in the association’s pre-Budget (2023-24) memorandum to the Union Minister.

The jewellers say many of the changes in regulations in the recent days have helped big corporate jewellers. However, it is also important that small jewellers remain relevant and solvent as they provide large-scale employment.

The association has also appealed to the Minister to remove restrictions on import and export of gold. The current restrictions on import and export have fuelled smuggling. The tax rate of 18.45% is one of the factors. Though the heavy taxation is meant to minimise current account deficit, it has also led to hawala transactions and creation of a parallel economy, it says.

Bringing the price of gold in the country on a par with the international market will help create an efficient transaction system, avoiding additional taxes, say S. Abdul Nazar, treasurer of the association, and K. Surendran, general secretary. Removal of impediments in gold import and export will also help India become a global price-setter and industry leader, they pointed out.

The association has also called on the Union Finance Minister to make it easier for MSMEs to comply with the norms and regulations.

According to data available, the merchants’ association said, around 80% of the organised jewellery exporters belong to the MSME category. Most of the around 7,000 gold and silver merchants represented by the AKGSMA too belong to the small business category.

The association has welcomed raising the limit on turnover for MSMEs. In continuation of the positive step, additional benefits can be extended to MSMEs. These can include removal of mandatory hallmarking requirements for micro jewellery firms with a turnover of ₹5 crore. Labour compliance relaxation may be given to MSMEs for three years from the formation date and withdrawal of gem and jewellery from the goods specified in notification 59/2022 which gives “extraordinary powers” to Customs authorities to take up controlled delivery of consignments.

Source: The Hindu

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