Reeling under GST shock, jewellery, MSME sector in west UP get ‘little’ respite

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Jewellery, sports, textile manufacturing and other micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in western Uttar Pradesh were eyeing several sops, including some GST concession, from the Friday’s interim budget. However, most of them were an “unhappy” lot. In glittering bylanes of Meerut, one of the largest jewellery manufacturing hubs of northern India, there was a sense of gloom. The gems and jewellery sector, which is still reeling under the impacts of note-ban and GST implementation, had sought a reduction in gold import duty to 4 per cent. With no dip in import duty and no change in the mandatory PAN card on purchase of Rs 2 lakh and above, the jewellers say that there was nothing for them in the budget.

In fact, jewellers said that since the limit of accepting cash on purchase of gold was decreased from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh last year, they were also expecting amendments to the policy but no change was done. Akash Manglik, vice president, Meerut Bullion Traders’ association, said: “We were expecting some relief in the gold import duty, however no such announcement was made. Also, we expected that the mandatory PAN card for purchase of Rs 2 lakh and above jewellery rule will be changed. But this, too, has not happened. Since we cannot accept more than Rs 2 lakh cash from the customer, they have to wait for their cheques to get cleared to purchase jewellery from us. This limit was Rs 5 lakh earlier, but this government changed it to Rs 2 lakh.” Jewellers said that they were also expecting a dip in Goods and Service Tax (GST) on gold, which did not happen.

“We had expected that GST on gold will dip from the exiting 3% to 1%, but no such benefit was doled out. The import duty on gold has also not been reduced, which is indirectly giving platform to black marketing,” said Vijay Anand Agarwal, general secretary, Meerut Bullion Traders’ Association. Like jewellery, Meerut’s sports industry had also high expectations from the budget. Rakesh Mahajan, GST chairman of All India Sports Goods Manufacturers’ Federation, said: “We were expecting that at least all the sports goods items will be put under the same bracket of 12% GST. But no announcement was made on it.” However, unlike their masters, workers employed in the local industries and unorganized sector were happy. Small tea shops in the bylanes of Bareilly, famous for its embroidery work and home to about 8 lakh artisans, were buzzing with workers excited with the prospect of getting monthly pension of Rs 3,000.

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