Indian Jewellers Call off Strike

Mumbai: After keeping shutters down for 43 days against the proposed one per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery, bullion traders and jewellers opened their shops on Tuesday.

In the past six weeks, the striking jewellers not only lost on new business but also faced a tough time retaining artisans and paying rent for their establishments. To their disappointment, the government refused to give in to any demand before the strike was called off.

Finally, all they won was an assurance. The government had earlier promised to set up a committee headed by former chief economic advisor Ashok Lahiri to study the issue. However, the committee is yet to be formed.

“The government has assured us that it will come out with a liberal policy to resolve problems faced by jewellers,” said Bachhraj Bamalwa, director, All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF).

More than the financial implication, the excise duty will change the way jewellery is made in India. So far, a large part of jewellery supply chain was not recorded in detail as a product would go through several small artisan workshops before arriving at a shop.

Unaccounted trade would be impacted as the excise levy would require jewellers to maintain records of gold purchase. Compliance cost for manufacturing is also likely to go up.