New Delhi: BJP MP and veteran actress Hema Malini on Wednesday demanded a rollback of hike in import duty on gold in the Rajya Sabha, expressing fear that it will adversely affect the customers and promote smuggling.
"The gold price today is already very high at about Rs 2800 per gram. As the new Budget levies duty on import of gold, it will make the gold more expensive, as compared to anywhere else in the world," she said in the Upper House, joining hundreds of jewellers protesting the move.
Participating in the debate on the Union Budget, she said the excise duty on non-branded jewellery will also make it even more expensive.
"The increase in import duty on gold will encourage smuggling," said the actor who also sought industry status for the film industry.
Stressing on higher budget allocation to the Ministry of Art and Culture, she said it is "ridiculous" to see the ministry not fully utilising the funds allocated in last few years.
She said there is a need to protect the heritage of the country's culture and suggested setting up of a multi-disciplinary centre.