The editorial, “A regressive decision” (October 11), minces no words. The relaxation in KYC norms for jewellery purchase is indeed a regressive move, probably taken to please the traders’ lobby.
Next to real estate, jewellery has been a big avenue of hoarding black money. By permitting purchases of up to Rs 2 lakh without KYC, we have opened the flood gates for that. Unscrupulous traders and customers will find ways to make several bills to sell/buy the same item. Added to rampant under-billing in the sector, this would mean virtually no limit on the quantity of jewellery people can buy.
What purpose does jewellery serve? Except the garish display at weddings and other such functions, it mostly stays in the bank or domestic vaults — a useless unproductive asset for accumulating ill-gotten wealth. It is passed from one generation to the next, often causing tension and fights within families. People even get clever fakes made and wear them while the real thing is stashed in some locker in some distant part of the world.
Burgeoning gold imports suggest this method of utilising unexplained wealth is becoming the norm. Importing gold worth more than $15 billion in just five months is preposterous. This import should be banned. We can use the saving of nearly $35 billion for building infrastructure. The old theory of jewellery being an insurance for women in hard times is not relevant now.
On the one hand, the government is committed to eliminating — or at least reducing — the amount of black money through demonetisation, bank accounts for all, compulsory Aadhaar linkage, stringent KYC norms, emphasis on digitisation, introduction of the goods and services tax et al; on the other hand, with the decision to ease KYC norms for jewellery purchases, it seems bent on reversing those gains.
Krishan Kalra Gurugram
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