With the onset of the festive season, the gems and jewellery industry fears losing out on sizeable sales, with some industry leaders saying continuation of the strike will be a "disaster" for the business. All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) Director Ashok Minawala said if the jewellers continue to strike, it's going to be "a disaster" during Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra.
"We must understand the consumer demand, retain and maintain it. There is a need to come out of the mindset and start a proper and meaningful dialogue with the government and reach some decision. If the strike ends, the demand during Gudi Padwa as well as the entire festival season is going to be phenomenal," he added. Waman Hari Pethe Director Aditya Pethe rued that there is a lot of confusion in the consumer's mind with regard to the jewellers' strike as 80% of the shops are shut since last one month.
"However, if the agitation is over soon, then the offtake will zoom as there is lot of backlog consumer demand. We expect minimum 30-35% rise in demand on the Gudi Padwa day. It will be very high during the festive season," he added. "The demand will be at least three-fold during Gudi Padwa, where people consider it auspicious to buy gold, due to a lot of pent-up demand that was help up following the all India strike by jewellers across the country," PNG Jewellers CMD Saurabh Gadgil told PTI here.
The demand, he said, will be mainly for weddings as the marriage season is round the corner. However, small ticket articles like coins and small jewelleries will also be in demand due to Gudi Padwa. He said PNG, which has 25 stores in Maharashtra, is getting a lot of enquiries for wedding jewelleries. But the booking has not begun as consumers are confused about the strike. "We are hoping that the strike will end soon, otherwise the result will be disastrous for the industry," he opined.
The jewellers have been on a pan-India strike since March 2 to protest against imposition of excise levy, demanding withdrawal of the budgetary proposal. Meanwhile, the government has constituted a panel under former chief economic advisor Ashok Lahiri to look into the set of demand of jewellers. The sub-committee, which has been asked to submit its report in 60 days, will look into issues related to the compliance procedure for the excise duty, including records to be maintained, forms to be filled, operating procedures and other relevant aspects.
The government, in the Budget for 2016-17, had proposed 1% excise duty on jewellery without input credit or 12.5% with input tax credit on jewellery excluding silver other than those studded with diamonds and precious stones.