Jewellery traders across the country are set to suffer additional business losses amid the lockdown impact on festive sales during Akshaya Tritiya and Eid on Friday. According to the traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the highest amount of gold and jewellery is sold on Akshaya Tritiya annually. “Coincidentally, the festival of Eid will also be celebrated tomorrow and the jewellery trade across the country will suffer the additional loss of trade of gold jewellery on Eid. It will be the second consecutive year for the jewellery traders to remain under lockdown during such festivals…This year also due to the lockdown, the jewellery shops are closed in the majority of states,” CAIT’s National President BC Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said on Thursday.
“In 2019, there was a sale of more than Rs 10,000 crores on Akshaya Tritiya but last year due to lockdown, the gold sale was restricted to only 5 per cent worth around Rs 500 crores. Now in the second year of lockdown on Akshaya Tritiya, the gold and jewellery trade has suffered a big setback,” said Pankaj Arora, National Convenor, All India Jewellers and Goldsmith Federation. Importantly, the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court had recently passed an interim order to stop the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) from taking any coercive action on jewellers or impose penalty till June 14, 2021, who are not able to comply with mandatory hallmarking regulation by June 1, 2021, due to the lack of adequate infrastructure in terms of assaying and hallmarking centres.
Hallmarking is a purity certification of precious metals and has been voluntary in nature so far. In November 2019, the government had announced mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts from January 15, 2021. This was later extended till June 1, 2021, as jewellers had sought time to shift to hallmarking and register themselves with the BIS amid the pandemic.
Meanwhile, CAIT had last week said that traders had suffered the total business loss of around Rs 6.25 lakh crore during April due to multiple Covid restrictions including lockdowns, curfews, etc., enforced by state governments. This including around Rs 4.25 lakh crore loss to retail businesses and around Rs 2 lakh crore loss to the wholesale trade. Federation of Retailer Association of India (FRAI), which represents around 4 crore micro, small, and medium retailers in the country, had told Financial Express Online in April that that lockdown may lead to loss of at least around 40 per cent of the monthly earnings of micro retailers. India’s gems and jewellery export sector contributed around 27 per cent to the global jewellery consumption in 2019, according to IBEF. The exports are expected to reach $100 billion by 2025 even as between April and December 2020, exports of gems and jewellery stood at $16.88 billion.