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