|Initially launched as a 3-day strike of India's jewelry manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, commencing March 2nd, to protest against the Indian Government's decision to implement a one percent Excise Duty in the jewelry sector, the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) and representatives from other jewelry associations decided to extend the strike till March 7th.
"The Excise guidelines which has been drafted for the Gems & Jewellery are not practically implementable and will be detrimental to the survival of the industry," says GJF Chairman G V Sreedhar in a GJF press release. "We are expecting positive results from the Government, but our agitation and protest continues. All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF), with co-ordination and recommendation from All India Jewellery Associations decided to extend the strike till 7th March, 2016."
The GJF reports that over 300,000 jewelers, including manufacturers and artisans, are participating in the strike.
The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council's (GJEPC) Chairman, Praveenshankar Pandya, has also reacted to the Indian government's decision to impose excise duty on the industry. Pandya notes that, despite the many meetings held between representatives of the industry and government to put forward the case for facilitating greater "Ease of Doing Business in the Sector", none of the concerns of the gem and jewelry sector were addressed in the government's Union Budget."We find that our existing concerns have not been addressed in this Budget," says Pandya. "We are apprehensive of the introduction of excise duty on jewellery products for the first time in several decades. In India, jewellery is largely produced by the SMEs and they are not equipped to follow the rigid compliance of excise norms. The imposition of excise would severely impact jewellery production in India resulting in loss of employment to the uneducated but skilled jewellery workers," he added.