New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday ruled out any roll back of the proposed hike in duty on gold, saying precious foreign exchange was being lost due to high import of the yellow metal.
Participating in a debate in the Lok Sabha on the national budget, the finance minister, nevertheless, said he would re-consider the mandatory submission of income tax permanent account number for gold purchases above Rs.200,000.
“The question of PAN card, I can understand, but surely not on the import duty on gold and platinum,” the finance minister said, promising a formula that is acceptable to small jewellers.
“As there have been a lot of representations I am considering it between now and the passage of the finance bill I will come out with an acceptable formula,” he said.
Calling investments in gold “dead assets”, Mukherjee said he understood the sentiment among Indians to buy the yellow metal but added that huge purchases were adding to the country’s problems.
India is the largest importer of gold, which was valued at $46 billion in 2011, next only to hydrocarbons.
“Yes, gold is a part of our culture, I admit, but at the same time please remember precious foreign exchange if it is spent on importing dead assets like gold, it causes problem,” the finance minister said.