|Diamond brokers and diamond merchants in Surat, India, shut down their businesses on Saturday, June 17th in protest at the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime set to come into force from July 1st, reports the Times of India (TOI).
The new tax regime, which the local diamond industry seeks to be exempted from, would see an 18 percent tax on diamond trading, 3 percent on polished diamonds and 0.25 percent on rough diamonds.
Around 4,000 diamond brokers, 3,500 diamond merchants, and 3,000 small and medium diamond units remained shut in the diamond hub of Varachha, Mahidharpura and Katargam in the city, reports the news source.
While Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Chairman Praveen Shanker Pandya reportedly had on Friday appealed to diamantaires in Surat, Navsari and other cutting centres in Saurashtra not to join the shutdown, Surat Diamond Association (SDA) president Dinesh Navadia had expressed his support for the action, saying that he would represent the issue before the GST Council on June 18th.
The leader of the diamond GST struggle (Diamond GST Sangarsh Samiti) Jeram Kalasia says, "All diamond brokers and merchants joined the bandh. The diamond trading was suspended on Saturday. All the small and medium diamond units were closed, while the big units functioned normally. We have asked GJEPC and Surat Diamond Association (SDA) to strongly represent for exemption of diamond industry from GST as it would otherwise make it difficult for small diamantaires," said Kalasia, as quoted by the news source.Similar protests against the new GST regime have been undertaken by the textile and food-grain markets and the dry fruit merchants.