The minister asked jewellers not to recover transaction charges for use of debit or credit cards from customers, reports Rajesh Bhayani/Business Standard
Piyush Goyal, Union power minister, told jewellers in South Mumbai on Saturday, November 26, 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 the 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.
Retail jewellery 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.
'The fraternity is hereby informed not to levy any charges on electronic, debit or credit card, or mobile wallet transactions,' the Indian Bullion and Jewellers Association stated.
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.
IMAGE: A jewellry store. Photograph published only for representational purposes.