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Updated: April 7, 2012 01:45 IST

Jewellers meet Pranab, call off strike

Special Correspondent
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Jewellers during a protest rally against the government demanding roll back of excise duty on non-branded jewellery. File photo
Jewellers during a protest rally against the government demanding roll back of excise duty on non-branded jewellery. File photo

Jewellery and bullion traders on Friday called off their 21-day strike following a meeting with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and a personal assurance by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee that he would consider their demand for rollback of excise duty on unbranded jewellery when the Finance Bill is taken up for approval in Parliament.

Most of the jewellery shops across the country which have downed the shutters since March 17 are expected to reopen on Saturday.

However, after the meeting with Mr. Mukherjee, the jewellers' association clarified that the agitation was only being suspended and they would go on strike again if the proposal to levy duties on gold and jewellery was not withdrawn. “The strike has been suspended till May 11, as the Minister has assured us of a decision on rollback of excise duty and customs duty by May first week,” said All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation governing board director Dinesh Jain.

Members of the Delhi-based All India Sarafa Association have also agreed to suspend the three-week protest. Representatives of various associations who attended the meeting said Mr. Mukherjee had assured them that their grievance against the levy of one per cent excise duty on unbranded jewellery would be addressed.

Earlier, at the meeting with Ms. Gandhi, “we requested her to tell the government to roll back excise duty on unbranded jewellery, reduce customs duty and lower TDS on sale of jewellery,” All India Swarankar Sangh president Madhukar Chachad said. She “has assured us that she will forward our demands to the Finance Minister for further action,” he said.

Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council Chairman Rajiv Jain hailed Mr. Mukherjee's assurance.

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Jewellers do business with physical gold. This involves making charges and wastage of gold. They create innovative exquisite designs. Gold ornaments are part of the culture of the country. On the other hand, e-gold business and on-line trading of gold is mostly speculative in nature. Such on-line gold trading causes the price of gold to go up and down, in a volatile way,affecting the gold jewellers and the public at large. All stakeholders should think about this.

from:  L.Srinivasan
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 15:26 IST

''Silence may be Gold but here gold dealers feel they have to speak.. we wonder why this 'Gold veri'among people.They should stop buying Gold if the government accepts to reduce the taxes.Many middle income group spend huge money on buying gold when their children get married.Temple assets had increased due to devotees offering gold.The burglars decamp with gold from the houses of low income people.If the government sticks to its taxes,the gold buying would not come down.Next month (May end)there would be a spate of gold purchases, If speech is silver,Gold would make us dumb.

from:  doodu
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 09:42 IST

Can every section of the public demand withdrawal of taxes by resorting
to agitation? After all, the Bullion Industry is not going to pay these
taxes. They are going to pass it on to the end users. Yielding to their
demand is like yielding to blackmailing. There is no difference between
the Bullion Industry and Mamata Banerjee.

from:  Ravi Narayanan
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 08:41 IST

Mr. Murty, I beg to disagree with your comments. First of all Gold cannot be compared with cigarettes. And similarly gold cannot be compared with ready made garments. No cloth is over 2000Rs a meter and so it doesnt make sense to claim wastage charges. Do you have any idea how much effort goes into making a small piece of jewellery in terms of workmanship? Readymade garments can be afforded by most of the public but its not the same with gold. I agree that government should monitor the charges that are being applied on a purchase, but it should end there.

from:  Bharat
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 02:07 IST

Whatever the cost of gold is, we in India will still continue to buy
them. Why on earth these gold merchants crying on the excise duty. These
merchants have been enjoying the benefit of free gold imports since the
deregulation in the nineties. It's high time they pay some tax to the
government. There is no regulatory body to monitor the price of consumer
gold and listen to their grievances. It would be good to have some
regulation and monitoring.

from:  Kirps
Posted on: Apr 6, 2012 at 23:36 IST

The appetite for gold for Indians is insatiable and people will buy gold, come what the cost may! Hence I fail to understand the anxiety of gold jewellery manufacturers and dealers. The government is clever to understand this and is hiking the taxes. It is like tobacco and cigarettes! The merchants of gold will do well to abolish the "making charges" and "wastage charges" on jewellery which is nothing but fleecing the gullible consumers. Have you ever heard of 'making charges' and 'wastage charges' on ready made garments? These costs on jewellery should be reasonable and built into the selling price and this should be monitored by the Government. The customers also do not demand bills to "avoid" VAT etc which is also deplorable. The Government should bring in reforms in these areas and raise taxes reasonably every year like on cigarettes!

from:  R.M.Murthy
Posted on: Apr 6, 2012 at 14:41 IST
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