India's gem and jewellery exports are set to cross the $8.27 billion target set for fiscal 2002-03 with overseas trade during April-October 2002 having touched $5.08 billion.
The exports during April-October are 105 per cent of the estimated target of $4.83 billion for the seven-month period, the commerce ministry said in a statement Monday.
While appreciating the export performance of the industry, Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley urged the exporters "to aim at doubling their export earnings in this sector within the next three to four years by taking advantage of the government's liberal policy".
He emphasised the need for voluntary hallmarking of gold jewellery as well as production of contemporary designs for plain and studded gold jewellery.
During an interaction with exporters in Mumbai Jaitley had said, "Our emphasis should be to move higher in the value-addition chain and carve out a larger share in the world diamond market and gradually shift from a mere processing centre to a trading centre of cut and polished diamonds."
India is the largest processing centre of rough diamonds employing about a million workers. A leader in the small and medium segment, India accounts for 9 out of 10 cut and polished diamonds traded globally.
Jaitley urged the diamond industry to complete the diamond bourse infrastructure to take effective steps to convert Mumbai into a world-trading centre for cut and polished diamonds.
As India's production of cut and polished diamonds is dependent on import of rough diamonds, the minister announced the government had permitted advance remittance, without bank or sovereign guarantee, to Russia for import of rough diamonds.
He underlined the tremendous potential for jewellery exports, in which India's share is only $1.16 billion as against the world market size of $35 billion.
Jaitley stressed the need take advantage of the new import duty concessions being offered on diamonds and gem stones to produce and export better quality jewellery.
The government has announced plans to abolish import duty on semi-processed, half-cut and broken diamonds and rough coloured gemstones, and lower duty on cut and polished coloured gemstones and non-industrial diamonds from 15 per cent to five per cent.
Import duty on gold has also been reduced from Rs.25 per gram to Rs.10 per gram from serialised gold biscuits and coins.