Election Code of Conduct: GJEPC Ensures Smooth Sailing for IIJS Tritiya Exhibitors

Mr. Sabyasachi Ray, Executive Director, GJEPC shares details about the Council’s strategies to help IIJS Tritiya exhibitors navigate possible challenges related to the Achar Sanhita or Election Model Code of Conduct, a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for the conduct of political parties and candidates during elections.

For those unfamiliar, could you explain what Achar Sanhita is?

The Achar Sanhita, or the Model Code of Conduct, is a crucial framework that ensures the integrity and fairness of elections in India. It is a set of guidelines that govern the behaviour of political parties and candidates, prohibiting certain actions and activities that could unduly influence voters or disrupt the electoral process. The Election Commission of India enforces this code to maintain a level playing field and uphold democratic values during the election period.

How does Achar Sanhita typically influence the business and operations of the gem and jewellery sector?

The Achar Sanhita, or Model Code of Conduct, typically affects the gem and jewellery sector by imposing restrictions on the movement of bullion, which are often under scrutiny during election periods to prevent their misuse. However, ideally as per norms of election commission, normal business operations, such as the movement of documented and accounted precious goods for B2B purposes, like jewellery, should not be hindered.

During elections, the Election Commission forms flying squads through local Govt. administrations and enforcement agencies like GST, Income Tax, police etc to monitor and check the movement of unaccounted cash and undocumented valuables. The Election Commission generally issues clear instructions that while vigilance is increased, it should not disrupt the normal economic activities of the country.

For the gem and jewellery sector, this means that while B2C (business-to-consumer) activities might be more closely watched, B2B (business-to-business) transactions, which are typically accompanied by proper documentation like delivery challans, GST invoices, and goods sent for hallmarking, exhibitions etc. should continue as usual without interruption.

In other words the Achar Sanhita aims to prevent electoral fraud without impeding the regular business operations and economic activities of sectors like gem and jewellery, which accounts for some 7% of GDP and gives livelihood to a large number of people in India.

With the upcoming elections and the implementation of Achar Sanhita, what changes are expected for IIJS Tritiya exhibitors?

With the enforcement of Achar Sanhita during the upcoming elections, IIJS Tritiya exhibitors can expect certain changes, particularly in the monitoring of goods. The focus will be on ensuring that all items are accounted for and comply with GST and income tax regulations when such goods are transported from its parent destination to the exhibition and back. The Election Commission’s squads will be vigilant and conducting scrutiny for unaccounted cash and valuables, but it is understood that B2B transactions, which are well-documented and follow legal requirements, should not face unnecessary hurdles.

To mitigate any potential disruptions, especially since the exhibition lasts only four days, GJEPC has engaged with the Election Commission officials and other relevant Govt. authorities to establish Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

The Commerce Ministry has already issued communication to the relevant Govt. departments to facilitate smooth operations for IIJS Tritiya 2024 Exhibition. Additionally, the Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka has assured cooperation, and the GST Commissioner of Karnataka has issued circular for facilitation of cargo meant for the exhibition at Bangalore which will help the transport operations of goods by logistic providers.

IIJS Tritiya exhibitors are advised to carry all necessary documentation, including Delivery Challans, Invitation and Allotment Letters, and copies of the SOP issued by GST Karnataka, along with the Commerce Ministry’s Permission. These documents will serve as proof that the goods are meant for exhibition purposes and should expedite any checking process.

To further ensure a hassle-free experience, GJEPC has also communicated with election authorities in various states including Delhi, Chandigarh, UP, Telengana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Maharashtra, from where goods will be transported,  to facilitate to and fro movement of goods and prevent any disruptions proactively. This comprehensive approach aims to address any impediments that would have been faced by the exhibitors during the election period.

How is GJEPC assisting exhibitors in navigating the challenges posed by Achar Sanhita?

GJEPC is actively assisting exhibitors in navigating the challenges posed by Achar Sanhita through several measures:

Meetings with Clearing and Forwarding Agents: GJEPC has conducted meetings with clearing and forwarding agents to leverage their experience in transporting goods, especially during election times.

Issuance of Advisory: A comprehensive advisory has been issued to all exhibitors detailing the Do’s and Don’ts for transporting goods, ensuring compliance with the Achar Sanhita.

Mapping of Goods Movement: The movement of goods is being meticulously planned, with each exhibitor’s goods tracked from their point of origin to the exhibition venue.

Coordination with Authorities: Meetings are scheduled with the Police Commissioner and the Superintendents of Police (SPs) of Bengaluru to ensure seamless transfer of goods to the venue.

Creation of a Task Force: A task force comprising of GJEPC Officials across all regions has been established to intervene promptly if any issues arise during the transportation of goods.

Sensitisation of Check Posts: Efforts are being made to inform and sensitise the officers at various check posts about the movement of goods to prevent unnecessary delays.

Preparation for Contingencies: While the majority of goods are expected to move without issues, the task force is prepared to address any unexpected challenges that may arise.

Through these actions, GJEPC aims to minimise disruptions and ensure that the normal business operations of exhibitors are not adversely affected by the election-related regulations.

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