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Bengal minister urges Pranab to reconsider gold duty hike

West Bengal,Business/Economy,Politics, Sat, 24 Mar 2012 IANS

Kolkata, March 24 (IANS) West Bengal Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee Satuday urged union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to reconsider the budget proposal of increasing basic customs duty on standard gold bars and coins as it would badly affect gold jewellery industry workers.


Chatterjee has already sent a letter to Mukherjee requesting tht the proposal be reviewed.


"Yesterday (Friday) representatives of 'Swarna Silpa Bachao Committee' came to meet me and informed that because of the hike in the import duty on gold, about five lakh people in the state associated with jewellery industry would be affected," Chatterjee told media persons here.


"The people working at medium and small gold jewellery business will be severely affected due to the hike," he said.


Indian jewellery makers have criticised Mukherjee's proposal to increase basic customs duty on standard gold bars, gold coins and platinum by two percent, saying that it would adversely affect the country's gold jewellery industry as the prices of finished products would rise.


"I have apprised union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee about that and urged him to consider the issue. I also urged (Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress leader) Mukul Roy and (party's Lok Sabha leader) Sudip Bandyopadhyay to request the finance minister on the matter," said Chatterjee, who is also Trinamool Congress secretary general.


Jewellers in Kolkata kept their shutters down for a few days, protesting the hike in excise and customs duties on the yellow metals. The shutdown continued till Friday.


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