The country-wide Jweller strike was called off on Saturday after 19 days. The protesting jwellers were demanding a roll-back of proposed excise duty on non-silver jewellery after the government assured them that there will be no harassment by excise officials.
Major jewellery associations, including All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF), India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBBJ) and Gems Jewellery Export Promotion Council, decided to call off the strike after meeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley regarding the 1 per cent excise duty proposed on jewellery in the Budget 2016-17.
“It (excise duty) has not been rolled back but our grievances have been taken care of. The Finance Minister has assured us that there will be no ‘inspector raj’ and we are hopeful of getting a notification in this regard. “After long deliberations, all associations agreed to call off the stir,” GJF chairman Sreedhar G V told PTI here.
As per some reports, the industry has suffered a loss of over Rs. 25,000 crore in the last 18 days. Over 3 lakh jewellers from more than 300 associations kept their establishments closed across the country since March 2 after the finance minister in the Budget for 2016-17 announced the 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.
Jewellers are also opposed to mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transactions of Rs. 2 lakh and above.
The size of the gems and jewellery industry has grown to Rs. 3.15 lakh crore and contributes 3.5 per cent to the GDP even as it is still an unorganised sector which employs 4.5 million skilled workers.