Surat: The Union government has given an in-principal approval to India’s first ‘diamond notified region’ in the diamond city of Gujarat. This will enable diamond mining companies from across the world to set-up rough diamond trading offices for direct trading with companies based in Surat and Mumbai, reports The Times of India.
A delegation of Gujarat government met the Union minister of state for ministry of commerce & industry Nirmala Sitharaman and discussed the project with her. Another meeting comprising state government officials and leading diamond traders is scheduled in next few days.
“Announcement of the region is expected before the mega Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit, schedule in January 2015 in which the Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also participate,” added a senior official of the industry & mines department in Gujarat government.
Till date, consignment import of rough diamonds is not allowed in India, which prevents global mining companies from setting up trading offices in Surat. Diamond mining companies have also stayed away from India due to the complex tax procedure here. This forces Indian diamantaires to travel abroad and purchase diamonds from mining companies in auctions held there.
Sources in the state industry and mines department said: “Prevalent restrictions on the diamond industry will be relaxed in the notified region. Gujarat government plans to give tax concessions, along with other financial benefits and incentives to the industries that set up office in this region.”
“The state government aims to develop the notified area on lines of GIFT city in Gandhinagar. Surat Diamond notified region will be focused on diamond related economic activities,” the sources added.
Annual import of rough diamonds in the country is pegged at $15 billion. Most of the precious stones are imported from South Africa, Antwerp, Botswana, Canada and Australia. De Beers alone sells more than $2.5 billion worth of diamonds to Indian clients. Of these 90 per cent of the diamonds are processed in Surat.