Jewellers lose Rs 25,000cr as strike drags on
WITH THE nationwide strike of gold and jewellery dealers continuing for the 16th day on Sunday, it is estimated that the industry has so far witnessed a loss of about Rs 25,000 crore.
Over two lakh jewellers are protesting the new tax and duty regulations imposed in the budget by finance minister Pranab Mukerjee.
“The daily protests and marches have had an huge impact on the industry. The net loss is around Rs 25,000 crore so far. We will hold a massive rally at Jantar Mantar today,” said Rakesh Saraf, president, Karol Bagh Jewellers Association.
“We would also have a joint meeting of varied associations in the evening to discuss the further course of action if our demands are not met.”
While pointing that the delay by government in making any decision is causing huge loss to the sector, union president Baccharaj Bamalwa of All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation, accused the finance minister of taking a lot of time to make any announcement.
“WE SHOULD realise that more than 2,50,000 jewellers across the country are affected by the decision and strike means huge losses for our country’s economy. We have demanded a 2 per cent duty on gold imports and other taxes on gold purchases to be rolled back,” said Bamalwa.
Jewellers will not withdraw the strike till their demands are met, he said.
“We are on an indefinite strike and jewellers across country are united,” Bamalwa insisted as the standoff between the union finance ministry and the federation enters its third week.
"We should realise that more than 2,50,000 jewellers across the country are affected by the decision. We are on an indefinite strike and jewellers across country are united”
President, All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation
“The industry is not organised and involves thousands of small jewellers and artisans who will be further affected by increase in excise and import duty rates,” he added.
The government had proposed a hike in import duty on gold bars, coins and platinum to 4 per cent from 2 per cent, after doubling the tax in January.
Gold traders have warned that imposition of higher levies may lead to heavy paper work for small jewellers and a rise in retail gold prices by over six per cent, which is seeking to rein in a widening current account-deficit.
The government has refused to change the import duty though it has assured the community of examining the decision.