This year’s budget is as expected a populist budget given the run up to 2024 elections. For the jewellery industry, the biggest disappointment is that the budget did not address the concerns over reduction in import duty on gold and the creation of a level playing field in prices between the regular market and grey market. In fact, silver has been brought on parity with gold and platinum at 15%. The focus of the government continues to focus on supporting new technologies and the nascent lab grown diamond industry is seen as a potential high employment space, hence the grant proposed. The government has also placed impetus on promoting Lab grown diamonds as it is seen as a green initiative through the reduction in basic customs duty on seeds required for lab grown diamonds. What kind of impact this will have on consumers over all as well as the natural diamond industry remains to be seen. The government has also announced that conversion of physical gold into digital gold will not attract capital gains tax which is likely to promote digital gold initiatives. Besides that, there is nothing major for the jewellery industry. With the implementation of the revised Income tax slabs, there will be more disposable income for people and will ensure that consumption further increases this year, thereby propelling GDP growth. This budget is laying a foundation for India once again reaching double digit growth again with a little bit of every sector.-

Dr. Saurabh Gadgil, Chairman and Managing Director, PNG Jewellers.