Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Revisiting gold import rules, says Anand Sharma
[Editor: P Chidambaram's obstinacy should have its usual limits. Normally, he is hard-working and has performed better than many other Finance Ministers, during the last couple of decades, but his "Herculean Stupidity" and overconfidence is what gets him flak at the end. When the elections are only few months away, he is still talking of Fiscal Deficits and Current Account Deficits while relaxing norms for Gold imports, as if the voters will give vote depending on this figure. Moreover, even if he is trying to contain CAD now, he should at understand that any decision works with a time lag. Therefore, if the import restrictions are removed now, it would not be before April, 2014 that the steam for imports will start to pick up. Anand Sharma is right in his assessment and a sector cannot be victimized for such a long time with draconian laws. There are poor artisans associated with this sectors whose life is in trouble due to high-handedness of the FMO. If the import of gold is made so much costlier, then how would the exports take place---are we living in an Utopia?]
January 28, 2014: The Union Commerce Ministry was for relaxing gold import rules and actively discussing the issue with the Finance Ministry, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said here on Monday.
“I am for a review and [the matter] is on my table,” Mr. Sharma, told a news conference after opening the CII Partnership Summit. “I am discussing this with the Finance Minister on my return to Delhi. We will see how to have a balance.”
(Earlier in the day, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, too, said in New Delhi that the restrictions on gold import would be relaxed by the end of the year.)
Mr. Sharma said the UPA government would continue to push through its economic agenda, including opening up the Railways and the construction sector to foreign direct investment.
Mr. Sharma dismissed the talk of policy paralysis in the government as a canard.
Cautioning certain States against reneging on their earlier decisions to allow FDI in multi-brand retail in their areas, the Minister said the 12 States that joined it “had exhausted the option.”
“We created a policy, not a revolving door. I would like to tell those States who are talking otherwise that India cannot be turned into a banana republic. Resolutions of both Houses of Parliament and the Supreme Court should be respected.”