Jewellers to strike in protest over gold tax | Reuters

MUMBAI Indian jewellers will go on indefinite strike from Tuesday in protest over the reintroduction after four years of a sales tax on gold jewellery, their trade body said.

The strike could curb gold imports by the world's second biggest consumer and put pressure on global prices.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced an excise duty of 1 percent on gold and diamond jewellery on Monday.

"Jewellers across the country will go on strike from tomorrow. We are urging the government to roll back excise duty," Ketan Shroff, a spokesman for India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA), told Reuters.

Successive governments have struggled to curb appetite for gold in Asia's third largest economy, despite the imposition of a 10 percent import duty in 2013 and other restrictions.

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 have already been falling due to higher prices. In such (a) situation the government has raised (the) burden of excise duty," Shroff said.

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.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Alexander Smith)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date: Feb 29, 2016 23:33 PM

Also Watch

Social Media Star: Abhishek Bachchan, Varun Grover reveal how they handle selfies, trolls and broccoli
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 It's a Wrap: Soorma star Diljit Dosanjh and Hockey legend Sandeep Singh in conversation with Parul Sharma
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 Watch: Dalit man in Uttar Pradesh defies decades of prejudice by taking out baraat in Thakur-dominated Nizampur village
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 India's water crisis: After govt apathy, Odisha farmer carves out 3-km canal from hills to tackle scarcity in village
  • Sunday, July 15, 2018 Maurizio Sarri, named as new Chelsea manager, is owner Roman Abramovich's latest gamble in quest for 'perfect football'

Also See