Indian jewelers and bullion traders suspended their 21-day strike and opened the business from today following favorable assurance from the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee regarding their demand.
“We have deferred the strike until May 11 and recommended our members to open their business,” said Dinesh Jain, a member of governing board of directors of the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF).
This will bring some relief to retail consumers who were unable to buy the jewelry due to the strike.
Jewelry retailers across India had been on strike since March 17 to oppose Mukherjee’s budget proposal 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, and make PAN card declaration mandatory for buying jewelry of more than $3,938 (INR 200,000) in cash, among other measures.
Nitin Kadam, GJF’s regional chairman for Mumbai, stated that the finance minister assured that he will look into jewelers demand.
“We are opening the shops,” Kadam added. “However, we have not cancelled the strike. We will wait for the finance minister’s announcement in Parliament in May.”
Mukherjee met with representatives of the jewelry manufacturing sector Friday in New Delhi to better understand the industry’s concerns regarding his budget proposal. The finance minister assured of a favorable decision following which all 30 associations agreed to stop the agitation immediately and open business, GJF said on its website.