Diamond trading operations in Surat have closed on Monday to support local jewelers protesting the government’s proposed excise duty on gold jewelry.
The Surat Diamond Association (SDA) met on Friday to discuss ways to show their support and subsequently called for a one day closure of the city’s diamond industry. Manufacturing operations in Surat will continue as usual.
Jewelry retailers across India have been on strike since March 17 to oppose the tax proposal announced for the gems and jewelry industry in the Union Budget 2012-13. The Mumbai diamond industry closed on Friday in support of the jewelers.
India’s Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, proposed in his budget speech on March 16 to impose a 1 percent excise duty on unbranded jewelry and to increase the excise duty on refined gold from 1.5 percent to 3 percent. He also proposed to double the customs duty on gold to 4 percent.