Bullion traders and jewellers opened their shops on Saturday, after calling off 21-day nationwide strike on Friday, as government assured them that their demand for rollback of excise duty on non-branded jewellery will be looked into.
“Most of the jewellery shops in the country have opened this morning,” All India Sarafa Association president Sheel Chand Jain told PTI.
The wholesale bullion markets in the metros, including Zaveri Bazaar in Mumbai and Chandni Chowk in Delhi were back to business.
In Delhi, the bullion market opened with gold quoting at Rs. 28,410 per 10g. However, traders reported thin business.
Retail jewellers too resumed business in most parts of the country except some places in Maharashtra as traders came to Mumbai for attending a pre-scheduled rally, Bombay Bullion Association President Prithviraj Kothari said.
Traders are estimated to have lost Rs. 20,000 crore due to the strike, while loss to the exchequer was about Rs. 1,200 crore in revenues.
Jewellers, however, have warned the government that they would resume strike if the proposal to levy excise duty of 1 per cent is not withdrawn in the Finance Bill, which is expected to come up before Parliament early next month.
The strike from March 17, 2012 followed the Budget proposals a day earlier. They included doubling of import duty on gold to 4 per cent.
Trading volumes, which were thin in the morning, are likely to pick up during the day, Delhi Jewellers and Goldsmith Association president Ram Avtar Verma said.
India, the world’s largest gold consumer, imported 967 tonnes of the precious metal in 2011.
Gold is the second biggest commodity imported after crude oil, adding to the country’s current account deficit. The government has maintained that the import duty hike has been proposed to cut the country’s imports.