The nation-wide bandh called on Monday by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association Ltd (IBJA) against the government policies was successful as 90% traders in Maharashtra joined the strike, IBJA claimed.
“Our call for bandh today to protest against the government policies was successful as nearly 90% bullion traders in Mumbai, Maharashtra and Kolkata observed bandh,” IBJA president Mohit Kamboj said. Except big retailers, almost all wholesalers and manufacturers joined the strike, he said.
IBJA called for a strike Monday to protest “harassment” of bullion dealers and jewellers by various government agencies. “This harassment has impacted the overall morale of the gems and jewellery business very badly,” he said. The country’s gold jewellery exports slipped by 44.42% at Rs.33,178 crore during April 2013 to January 2014 period following curbs imposed by the government on the trade. The country exported gold jewellery worth Rs.61,843 crore in the corresponding period April 2012 to January 2013.
The government is fighting to reduce its current account deficit (CAD), has brought in measures to restrict imports of gold, its second-biggest import item by value after oil.
“We urge the government to keep import duties on gold low to eliminate smuggling and immediately remove the 80:20 rule while allowing consignment gold imports to ensure fair open market controlled business. We also urge them to keep import duties on ready finished imports moderately high to protect Indian industry,” he said.
“Unfair norms have been a matter of concern for all the jewellers across India. Many policies implemented by the government have been very disappointing and demoralising for the gold jewellery exporters. Recently, many such cases of harassment have been reported not only from customs at the airport, but even from jeweller’s establishments as well,” IBJA said.
According to Kamboj, there is no gold available for exporters in the current scenario due to the government policies.