New Delhi: The strike by bullion traders and jewellers to protest the proposed increase in import duty on gold and imposition of excise duty on unbranded jewellery entered the 14th day on Friday.
Most jewellery houses have remained closed ever since the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget proposals on March 16 announced one per cent levy on unbranded jewellery and doubling import duty to 4 per cent on gold.
Striking associations in different part of the country have collectively decided to go for a complete closure of bullion markets in major as well as small towns, All India Sarafa Association President Sheel Chand Jain had said.
He had said the strike will go on for an indefinite period until the government roll-back the taxes imposed on the bullion trade.
The government had proposed a hike in import duty on gold bars, coins and platinum to 4 per cent from 2 per cent, after doubling the tax in January.
A levy on gold ore, concentrate and so-called dore bars (a semi-pure alloy of gold and silver) for refining will be doubled to 2 per cent and an excise tax on refined gold will climb to 3 per cent from 1.5 per cent.
Traders have warned that imposition of higher levies may lead to a rise in retail gold prices by over six per cent, which is seeking to rein in a widening current account-deficit partly fueled by record purchases in 2011.