New Delhi: The bullion traders' strike over the imposition of 1 percent excise duty on non-silver jewellery entered its ninth day Thursday.
Jewellers across the country have been in protest mode since March 2 against the proposed levy on non-silver jewellery items announced in the Budget 2016-17 and mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above.
All-India Sarafa Association Vice-President Surinder Kumar Jain said the government should withdraw the Budget proposal to levy 1 percent excise duty on jewellery items to "save the trade".
Jain said that in 1981 and 2012 too, the Centre had introduced excise duty in the gems and jewellery sector, but had to abandon the plan later.
The Chennai bullion market remained indefinitely closed in response to the call from the Madras Jewellers and Diamond Merchants Association.
Jewellers in Telangana yesterday launched an indefinite relay hunger strike here to press for their demand.
According to a statement issued by Jeetender Agarwal, spokesperson of the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (Telangana chapter), members from as many 30 associations based in Hyderabad and Secunderabad joined the indefinite relay hunger strike and many jewellers shut their outlets.
The finance ministry has clarified last week that only jewellers with a turnover of more than Rs 12 crore will be liable to pay 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery items.
So far, the government has not dropped any indication to meet the demand of bullion traders and merchants.