After six days of strike against new taxes imposed on jewellery in the Union Budget 2012, jewellers have decided to extend the strike indefinitely. Jewellers are demanding that the government rollback the taxes proposed in the new budget.
Anand Sikri, the president of Ludhiana Jewellers' Association, said, "Since the government has not accepted our demands, we have decided to continue our strike indefinitely. Our shops have been closed for six days now and further directions will be given by the All India Gems and Jewels Traders Federation."
Meenu Pal Khanna, a jeweller from Ludhiana, said, "The government has increased customs duty from 2% to 4% as we import gold, followed by 1.1% VAT, and then the government has minimised the exemption limit for consumer tax from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh and imposed 1% tax on unbranded jewellery. These steps are making it impossible for us to do business."
Jewellers say most of their customers pay cash for purchases, and the decrease in the exemption limit for consumer tax would cause problems to customers, as they cannot pay cheques. Angry over the new taxes, the jewellers have even suggested that if the government wishes to increase its revenue, it should further increase customs duty from 4% to 5% instead of imposing excise and customer tax.
Manoj Dhanda, general secretary Ludhiana Jewelers Association said, "During the nationwide strike of jewellers, the government has lost revenue of thousands of crores, but the government is still adamant. Therefore, we have decided to continue our strike indefinitely."