Jewellers Lose .₹ 2,000 crore Due to Strike on Gudi Padwa Day

The Economic Times - - Economy - Su­tanuka.Ghosal @times­group.com

Kolkata: Jewellers lost an es­ti­mated .₹ 2,000 crore on Fri­day on the oc­ca­sion of Gudi Padwa ow­ing to the on­go­ing strike against im­po­si­tion of 1% ex­cise duty on gold and di­a­mond jew­ellery in this year’s Union bud­get. The in­dus­try was ex­pect­ing a 15% surge in de­mand on Gudi Padwa this year com­pared to that a year ago on the aus­pi­cious day in Hindu cal­en­dar when peo­ple from Ma­ha­rash­tra and north­ern In­dia buy gold. How­ever, jewellers kept their shops shut due to the strike which has been on since March 1 even as some of them ex­pected that they would be able to open their shops on Fri­day.

“At present, the fight to roll back the ex­cise duty is not be­tween the gov­ern­ment and jewellers. All po­lit­i­cal par­ties in­clud­ing Congress, AAP, Shiv Sena and oth­ers have en- tered in the scene and every­body wants to lever­age the is­sue. There­fore, even if jewellers wanted to open the shops for a day they could not,” said Ke­tan Shroff, di­rec­tor, In­dia Bul­lion & Jewellers As­so­ci­a­tion. Shops in north­ern In­dia were com­pletely closed. Ashok Phophalia, gen­eral sec­re­tary of Delhi Jewellers As­so­ci­a­tion said, “Shops in Delhi, Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion, Haryana and Pun­jab are com­pletely closed. We have lost a busi­ness of .₹ 800 crore ap­prox­i­mately.”

How­ever, the jewellers who have out­lets in malls were not af­fected. “Gold pur­chase does not hap­pen on the day of Gudi Padwa alone. It starts two days ahead of the aus­pi­cious day. There­fore, we lost good busi­ness at a time when there is pent-up de­mand in the mar­ket,” said Mehul Choksi, chair­man of Gi­tan­jali Group. “In­di­ans have not been able to pur­chase gold in last 38 days. But the ex­cise is­sue is a real com­pli­cated thing and this needs to be ad­dressed im­me­di­ately,” he said. The gov­ern­ment has not yet set up a com­mit­tee headed by Ashok Lahiri to look into the is­sue that it had promised at a meet­ing with jewellers.

The strike has gone on for way too long now and busi­ness is get­ting af­fected, said Aditya Pethe, di­rec­tor of WHP Jewellers.

“We hope that sit­u­a­tion comes back to nor­mal soon as every­one in and around the mar­ket is get­ting af­fected,” he said.

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