New Delhi: Stepping up pressure, jewellery traders have decided to extend their strike till March 7 even as bullion markets across cities, including Delhi and Mumbai, remained shut for the third day Friday in protest against the government's move to re-impose 1 percent excise duty.
Jewellers today called on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has promised to look into the matter.
"We have met the Finance Minister in New Delhi and gave him our representation... He gave us a patient hearing and has assured us to look into the matter," All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) Chairman Sreedhar G V told PTI.
The proposed re-imposition of 1 percent excise duty on gold and diamond jewellery and mandatory quoting of PAN by consumers for transaction of Rs 2 lakh and above has not gone down well with the traders.
Meanwhile, the finance ministry has clarified that only jewellers with turnover of more than Rs 12 crore will be liable to pay 1 percent excise duty on non-silver jewellery items.
Traders in several parts of the country, including the metros, kept their shops closed for the third day, All-India Sarafa Association Vice-President Surinder Kumar Jain said.
Jain said the association today wrote a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley demanding withdrawal of the proposal.
Jewellers in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have also decided to extend their three-day strike till March 7 where as much as Rs 2,000 crore worth business has already been hit due to the stir.
"Already, Rs 2,000 crore worth of business have been affected. We expect it (business loss) could be more in coming days," Madras Jewellers and Diamond Merchants' Association, President Jayanthilal Challani told reporters in Chennai.
Tamil Nadu and Puducherry as a region racks up a business of about 800-1000 kg of jewellery on a day.
"The excise guidelines which have been drafted for gems and jewellery are not practically implementable and will be detrimental to the survival of the industry. We are expecting positive results from the government, but our agitation and protest continue," All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) Chairman G V Sreedhar said.
The apprehension is the proposed excise duty would lead to day-to-day harassment of small-time jewellers.