Jewellers called off their 20-day strike on Friday after an assurance from the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee that the government will consider their demand for a roll back of exercise duty on unbranded jewellery.

According to N.Anantha Padmanabha, regional chairman, All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, representatives from various States met the Finance Minister in Delhi and the main demand of the jewellers – roll back of excise duty on unbranded jewellery, lower tax collection at source on sale of jewellery, and reduction in customs duty – were discussed. “The Finance Minister has assured us that the issues will be discussed in Parliament, and has asked us to call off the strike,” said Mr. Padmanabha. On Friday, at 2 p.m. jewellery stores opened to start business as usual. “We are expecting a good demand, but how we are going to meet the demand will be a challenge. As of now, supply is less,” said LKS Syed Ahmed, chief advisor, Tamil Nadu Jewellers Federation.

According to him, with the wedding season around the corner and many tourists from other States visiting the city, many have been postponing their shopping plans. Stores hope to cash in on Akshaya Tritiya falling on April 24 and 25.

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