Piyush Goyal, Union power minister, told jewellers in South Mumbai
on Saturday to go cashless
and assured them the government was working on reducing the costs involved in such transactions.
“I am aware of what you did on Tuesday night when Prime Minister Narendra Modi
announced the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes,” he told jewellers.
Gold was quoted around Rs 50,000 per 10 gram in the days following the November 8 demonetisation
till income tax officials raided hundreds of jewellers. Old currency notes were used to buy gold and jewellery
at a steep premium to the official rate.
Sources said the sale of diamonds against old currency was three times that of jewellery
because a 1 carat solitaire diamond could cost a few lakh rupees depending on the cut, design and polishing.
sales are largely cash-based because credit card limits are often low and jewellers charge fees for using debit cards. Cheques are usually encashed before making delivery.
Goyal asked jewellers not to recover transaction charges for use of debit or credit cards from customers.
Jewellers said some steps were needed before they could switch to fewer cash transactions. “We request the government. to increase the mobile wallet limit because buying jewellery
is a high-value transaction. Integration of various mobile wallets is needed as well,” said Surendra Mehta, secretary, IBJA.
“Cyber laws also need to be amended to curb fraud in electronic transactions,” he added. The issue of infrastructure for cashless
transactions was discussed in the meeting with Goyal.