Notwithstanding the fact that jewellers across Gujarat are running into estimated losses of more than R6 crore each day, as their indefinite strike against the Centre’s decision to levy 1% excise duty on jewellery continues, Ahmedabad-based Gem and Jewellery Trade Council of India (GJTCI) has decided to make the three-day pan-India strike into an indefinite one. “Parliament is currently in session and we realise decision-making may take some time. At a meeting, about 600 of our members decided that the strike must continue indefinitely. In 2012 also, when we forced the government to roll back the proposed excise duty in the sector, our strike lasted for over 20 days,” said Shantibhai Patel, president of GJTCI.
Over 40,000 traders, including wholesalers and retailers, have shut shop across Gujarat, with over 5,000 being based in Ahmedabad alone. But workers across the state involved in jewellery manufacturing will receive their wages according to the norm. Patel expressed unhappiness with the excise duty, saying, “Production occurs at various stages and at different places. Most workers in the state are illiterate and unable to maintain records. We have even supported the government when they levied customs duty on gold, but the excise duty must go.”
Diamond traders in Surat have not joined the state-wide agitation. Dinesh Navadia, president of the Surat Diamond Association, said, “We are supportive of their demands… However, we are unable to participate in the strike as 98% of our products are exported… We are indirectly affected by the excise duty being levied on jewellery, but are unable to join the strike as most of our customers are based abroad and we must fulfill our commitment to them.”
* Ahmedabad-based Gem and Jewellery Trade Council of India has decided to make the three-day pan-India jewellers’ strike an indefinite one
* Over 40,000 traders, including wholesalers and retailers, have shut shop across Gujarat, with over 5,000 of them being based in Ahmedabad alone
* Diamond traders in Surat have not joined the state-wide agitation