Lakhs of jewellers and bullion traders went on a day long strike today against the government’s decision to make it mandatory to provide permanent account number (PAN) for sale or purchase of gold or jewellery worth over Rs. 2 lakhs.
The strike was called by Gems and Jewellery Federation (GJF), an umbrella body of over 300 jewellery trader associations, comprising more than six lakh manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, laboratories, gemologists and designers.
From January 1, 2016, PAN card has been made mandatory for all transactions above Rs 2 lakh in cash or through card in entire gems and jewellery sector.
“This is a crisis situation for the entire industry to survive as jewellers are losing customers mainly in small towns and rural areas, where a majority of population doesn’t have PAN cards. Our members and many of the jewellery associations have suffered losses in the last one month. Continuance of such situation will lead to job losses for workers, artisans and employees,” All India Gems and Jewellery Federation (GJF) Director Ashok Minawala told reporters.
This restriction on jewellery buyers has already dented business volumes and affected job situation for workers, artisans and small traders in the jewellery sector across India, he said adding their business turnover dropped over 30 per cent since the imposition of restriction about a month ago.
GJF has given a presentation to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and met the Finance Secretary in this regard, he said.
“We have urged the government to make the PAN card mandatory on jewellery purchase of over Rs 10 lakh instead of the present Rs 2 lakh. We will wait for the government to take action in this regard till the Budget this year. If no action is taken by that time, then the industry will take stern steps and we may go for an indefinite strike,” he added.
Minawala said as an apex body, GJF is under pressure from its associations across the country to address the issue and discuss it with the authorities.
“With just 22.3 crore PAN cards issued in India, how can the industry survive with such restrictions?” he asked.
GJF is a national trade federation established for the promotion and growth of gems and jewellery trade across India. It represents over 6 lakh players comprising manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, laboratories, gemologists, designers and allied services to the domestic gems and jewellery industry.
(With input from agencies).