Pre-Budget 2016: Views of RSBL – Mr. Prithviraj Kothari & Importance of GST for Bullion Sector
The transcript of the video is as follows:
Anchor: How significant is goods and services tax (GST) for bullion industry?
Mr. Kothari: Implementation of GST should be expedited for all round growth of our economy including supply chain, sourcing and distribution decisions, inventory cost, cash flows, pricing policy, accounting system and transactions management. The government should levy on bullion flat GST which would replace most indirect taxes like small local taxes, LBT, octroi etc currently in place. Not only that, there will be an ease in documentation too.
Anchor: Government of India has focused reducing import of gold. Has time come to focus on gold mining in India?
Mr. Kothari: India is rich in mineral resources. But, because of poor research and development (R&D), gold mining has been at bay. Despite huge resources, total production from domestic mines constitutes between 1-3 tonnes out of India’s estimated consumption of 1000 tonnes. On the other hand, China boosted its gold refining business after allow single-window clearance along with fiscal and infrastructure incentives which has put the industry on fast track. China reported total gold production at 451.8 tonnes in 2014, up by 5-52 per cent from the previous year, and become the largest gold producer in the world eighth year consecutively. India needs to focus on R&D in an effective way to reduce dependence on import and therefore, foreign direct investment (FDI) in R&D should be expedited. Moreover there are lot of issues with mining like the local MLA issue, local population of a particular area concerns etc. Due to these issues, mining has lot of limitations.
Anchor: With such issues, mining will remain just a dream for India.
Mr. Kothari: See, today somebody invests and starts mining and then people come forward with a stay on it. So who will invest money in India? The government should provide single window, frame only one policy that clearing, environment, all will be issued by the central government. State government will have no say. The emerging revenue issues should be decided state versus centre.
Anchor: Despite repeated request, the government has not yet reduced import duty on gold. Do you expect the same in the upcoming budget?
Mr. Kothari: Bullion dealers and jewellery manufacturers have sent several representations to the government for reduction in import duty from the existing 10% to 2% to provide a fillip to the domestic jewellery sector. Domestic jewellery buyers stayed away from fresh purchase since long amid expectations of cut in import duty.
Anchor: You have said earlier something that commodity exchanges are the best tools for hedging the price risk? Is the current system of trade sufficient or the government should do something else?
Mr. Kothari: See, in the last conference we held, our Shaktikant Dasji had said that there should be a bullion bank. Indian Bullion Jewellers Association, I and others together worked out on the concept and have tied-up with BSE to establish an Exchange and Bullion Bank, subject to RBI clarification. So, if these things happen, the disparity the people have in the market today will reduce very much. According to me, if the bullion bank is there, the prevalent difference of parity and disparity (will be reduced to great extent). Sometimes, the premium becomes 13 Dollars, 20 Dollars, 30 Dollars and sometimes even minus 30 Dollars. So, during the minus period we cannot re-export them. So, in my opinion, the government should open a bullion bank here wherein if you deposit gold, you will also get benefit over that and (if) you want to re-export that, you can re-export through the Re-export Bank. Thus, to great extent, there would be support to the economy and in a way, the economy will boom.