(IDEX Online) - The Indian government today announced an immediate abolition of the five per cent import levy on the graphite seeds used to create lab grown diamonds.The move is seen as a major boost to India's small but growing lab grown sector, and follows the announcement last August that the State Bank of India (SBI) would, for the first time, provide loans for manufacturers to buy the machinery needed to produce lab growns."Lab-grown diamonds (LGD) is a technology and innovation-driven emerging sector with high employment potential," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her annual Union Budget speech.She also announced a grant to fund five years of research and development grant to help India produce its own diamond seeds and become less reliant on imports."With the depletion in deposits of natural diamonds, the industry is moving towards lab-grown diamonds and it holds huge promise," she said."To seize this opportunity, I propose to reduce basic customs duty on seeds used in their manufacture."India currently produces around15 per cent of the world's lab growns. It has been calling on the government to invest and help it grow into $5.1bn-a-year industry."Effectively, the Modi 2.0 government is trying to reduce India's mined diamond import bill of $26 billion by promoting an ecosystem to produce lab-grown diamonds indigenously," Surya Jain, founder of lab grown diamond specialists Aupulent Jewellery, told the news website yourstory.com.Screengrab of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's Union Budget speech, courtesy Sansad TV.