BANGALORE: After calling off their 21-day nationwide strike, jewellers re-opened their shops on Saturday, as the Union government promised to roll back excise duty and custom duty on jewellery. In Karnataka, there are more than 10,000 jewellery showrooms apart from thousands of small-time jewellery shops. According to Sharavana, President of Karnataka Jewellers Association, on an average, everyday the country’s transactions in gold business are estimated to be around Rs 20,000 crore, of which, at least seven per cent is from Karnataka.
He said that after the strike had been called off, more business is expected. Explaining further, he said that many of the costumers are waiting to buy gold as they could not for the past many days due to the strike. Also, ‘Akshaya Trithiya’ is on April 24 and buying gold on this day is said to be auspicious.
Further, Sharavana added that the State government has reduced VAT on gold jewellery from two per cent to one per cent. This will decrease the cost of gold by `30 per gram. “Central government has added one per cent tax deduction source, four per cent of customs duty and three per cent of excise duty. With this, the costumer has to pay atleast Rs 180 per gram,” he said.
Karnataka Jewellers Association is one of the 23 associations across the nation that participated in the strike. “We met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi who assured roll back of excise duty. But we will resume the strike if the proposal to levy excise duty of one per cent is not withdrawn in the Finance Bill, which is expected to come up before Parliament on May 4,” he added.
Siddarth Mehta, Chief Strategist of Rajesh Exports said, “Now the strike has been called off and I hope the Centre will listen to our demands.”