The Union government’s decision of making it mandatory from January 1 to furnish PAN (Permanent Account Number) card details while making purchases worth Rs 2 lakh or above has drawn a flak from the jewellers in the city. The traders say it will reduce the numbers of customers as most of them are from rural areas.
According to the jewellers in Ludhiana, a large chunk of their buyers, who come from the rural areas, who do not possess PAN cards and do not fall under the tax ambit, therefore the decision of the central government would mar their business prospects.
Anand Sikri, president, Ludhiana Jewellers’ Association, rued, “We strongly oppose such a decision as it will hit the jewellers badly, besides encouraging the black-marketers. If the government implements this policy, we will carry out a statewide strike.”
“Punjab is an agriculturists’ land and a large chunk of its population does not possess PAN cards. An average villager, throughout his life, saves money for the marriage of his daughter or son. If asked to furnish the PAN card details during the purchase of gold, they (buyers) often end up questioning, ‘What is a PAN card?’. The decision, instead of curbing black money circulation, will encourage it,”said Sikri.
Sarjeevan Dheer, patron of Punjab Swarankar Sangh, said, “The decision of the central government doesn’t make any practical sense as only a small percentage of the total population possesses PAN cards. Even buying a small gold ornament piece of 100-gm costs around Rs 3 lakh. Punjab is a farmers’ state and most of them do not have PAN cards, therefore hefty transactions cannot take place. The decision is going to cause huge financial losses to the small and medium scale jewelers, who are already hit by the bigger players. Thus such a decision will pose a threat to their survival.”
Dheer said, “We along with our Punjab representatives are conducting a meeting with MP Prem Singh Chandumajra to submit a memorandum to him which will be further submitted to the Union finance minister. We call for the immediate revocation of the decision. Instead of putting burden on jewellers, government must introduce concessions and tax cuts so that the gold industry can heave a sigh of relief. We want limit of gold purchase for showing PAN card details be increased at least up to Rs 5 lakh.
Tribhuvan Thapar, one of the jewellers in Ludhiana, said, “With the decision assuming significance from January 1, not only the sale of gold jewellers would plummet severely but it will also take its bearing on government’s coffers as revenue generation through income tax and sales tax would also go down simultaneously.”
“Before implementing such decisions, the government must make provisions to issue PAN cards to a large chunk of population which comes from the rural background. Where on one hand the bigger players will be unaffected by the move, others will indulge in tax evasion practices,”Thapar added.