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Showroom open and strike call of Now
Excise duty expected to spark structural changes and consolidation in industry, After keeping shutters down for 43 days against the proposed one per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery, bullion traders and jewellers opened their shops on Tuesday. In the past six weeks, the striking jewellers not only lost on new business but also faced a tough time retaining artisans and paying rent for their establishments. To their disappointment, the government refused to give in to any demand before the strike was called off.

Jewellers suspend indefinite strike for 12 days on Govt’s assurance
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Apr 12: Jewellers suspended their six-week long indefinite strike for next twelve days from tomorrow after the Government’s assurance that their demands will considered.
This was told to Excelsior by Raman Suri, Chairman, Sarafa Association and Swarnkar Sangh Joint Action Committee.

Suri said that All-India Action Committee of Jewellers headed by its Chairman, Fatehchand Ranka, held a meeting with the representatives from all States at Delhi.

Suri informed that in the meeting, it was decided that the All-India Jewellers’ Strike will be suspended for twelve days from tomorrow. This suspension has been made by taking into consideration the problems being faced by our customers for the last 42 days, he added.

“This suspension does not mean that we are taking back our demand. The talks are still going on between the jewellers and the Government and the All-India Action Committee for Jewellers is planning to give a VAT basis proposal for excise duty to the Union Ministry”, he said, adding that these twelve days of suspension will act as an opportunity for the Union Ministry in which it can think over our genuine demand and roll back the excise duty or amend the Excise Duty Act according to our proposal.

“If our proposal will not be accepted by the Union Ministry, then the strike will resumed from April 25, and further course of action will be announced on April 24”, he added.

Apart from Raman Suri, the decision was also acknowledged by Raj Kumar Babbar, All India Vice President Swarnkar Sangh and President, Swarnkar Sangh Jammu Province, Parjan Kumar Jain, President Sarafa Association Jammu, Kulbhushan Anand, President Swarnkar Sangh Jammu District, Vijay Kumar Verma, General Secretary Sarafa Association Jammu, Surinder Jain, Treasure Sarafa Association Jammu and executive members of Sarafa Association Ajay Talla, Rakesh Mahajan, Sanjay Jain, CL Khajuria, CL Puri and Vijay Saraf, Darshan Dhalla.

Earlier, the jewellers, swarnkars, artisans and karigars held a meeting at Mubarak Mandi on the 42nd day of their indefinite strike.

Jewellers strike enters 34th day against excise duty

A large number of jewellery establishments in the country remained shut for the 34th day on Monday to protest against 1% excise duty on non-silver jewellery. Gold traders, jewellers and artisans have been observing strike across the country since March 2, demanding rollback of the budgetary proposal that has impacted the trade. Jewellers’ associations in different parts of the country have intensified their strike by staging ‘dharnas’ in major as well as small towns, said Surinder Kumar Jain, Vice-President, All India Sarafa Association.

Almora in Uttarakhand observed complete ‘bandh’ on Monday in support of jewellers. Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal yesterday addressed a gathering of jewellers, gold traders and artisans who staged a dharna at Jantar Mantar here. The excise duty was imposed without consulting traders. It will only lead to inspector raj and spike in corruption. The cost of collection would be much more than what the government hopes to earn, Kejriwal said. The Centre has already constituted a panel under former chief economic advisor Ashok Lahiri to look into the demands of jewellers. The sub-committee, which has been asked to submit its report in 60 days, will look into issues related to the compliance procedure for the excise duty, including records to be maintained, forms to be filled, operating procedures and other relevant aspects.

The government, in the Budget for 2016-17, had proposed one per cent excise duty on jewellery without input credit or 12.5 % with input tax credit on jewellery excluding silver other than those studded with diamonds and precious stones.

Jewellers' strike against 1% excise duty enters 21st day

The strike by a large number of jewellers and bullion traders continued for the 21st day today to protest against the Budget proposal to impose 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery, despite the government constituting a panel to look into their demand. Most of the jewellers who had reopened their showrooms in confusion yesterday, kept shutters down today at Mumbai's Zaveri Bazar and several other places, demanding rollback of the proposal. Bullion markets in Chennai, however, remained open for regular trading. All India Sarafa Association Vice-President Surinder Kumar Jain said the ongoing strike will go on indefinitely till the government rolls back the proposal. "We will stick to our demand of rolling back of proposed excise duty completely", Jain told PTI. Jewellery houses are closed since March 2 after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech on February 29, proposed levying 1% excise duty on non-silver jewellery. "Jewellers will not end their strike till the government withdraws the proposal," said Hukum Chand Soni, President, M P Sarafa Association. Jewellers across the country have also been protesting against mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transaction of Rs 2 lakh and above.