Zee Media Bureau
Mumbai: Jewellers across the country have decided to go on a three-day strike from Wednesday to protest the proposed re-imposition of 1 percent excise duty and mandatory PAN cards for any transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above, an industry grouping said.
Annual imports of up to 1,000 tonnes of gold, accounting for about a quarter of India`s trade deficit, have also prompted the government to launch a scheme to mobilise a pool of more than 20,000 tonnes of the metal lying idle in homes and temples.
The government imposed an excise duty in 2012, but was forced to roll it back after jewellers went on a strike.
Jewellery sales in India have fallen in the last two months due to higher gold prices and as consumers delayed purchases hoping for a cut in import duty. This has forced importers to offer a discount of up to $53 per ounce to clear inventory.
But Jaitley surprised the market by maintaining the duty and instead raising the concessional countervailing duty on imports of gold dore bars, an alloy, to 8.75 percent from 8 percent.
With Agency Inputs