New Delhi: Jewellers across the country will observe a nationwide strike tomorrow against the government's decision to make PAN card mandatory for transactions worth Rs 2 lakh and above.
From January 1, PAN Card has been made mandatory for all transactions above Rs 2 lakh in cash or through card in entire gems and jewellery sector.
Over 300 associations of jewellery trade with over 100,000 shops across the country will observe a day-long token strike because the business has fallen by 30 per cent since January 1, the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) said in a statement.
"This is a crisis situation for the entire industry to survive because jewellers are losing customers mainly in small towns and rural areas where a majority of population doesn't have PAN card in their names," GJF Chairman G V Sreedhar said. The Association has urged the Finance Ministry to make the PAN card mandatory on jewellery purchase of over Rs 10 lakh instead of the present Rs 2 lakh.
However, a jewellery body India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA) is not in favour of this strike. GJF Director Ashok Minawala said the PAN card restriction has discouraged majority semi-urban and rural jewellery buyers, who are engaged either in farming (no income tax obligation) or in small trade practices.
"With just 22.3 crore PAN cards issued in India, how can the industry survive with such restrictions?" he asked. GJF represents over 6,00,000 players comprising manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, laboratories, gemologists, designers and allied services. Currently, the domestic industry is estimated to be in the region of Rs 2.51 lakh crore with the potential to grow to Rs 5 lakh crore by 2018, the statement said.