MUMBAI: Most jewellers and traders in Mumbai today participated in the one-day nation-wide strike against the strict government regulations on gold imports, traders and jewellers said.
The call to strike was given by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association, formerly known as the Bombay Bullion Association. But apart from Mumbai, jewellers and traders in other cities did not participate in the strike, they said.
“The market was closed today to protest against the strict government policies on imports. It is only a 24-hour bandh and we are not extending it,” said Prithviraj Kothari, director of the association.
The association had compiled a list of demands that include reduction of customs duty on gold, revision of 20:80 import scheme, relaxation of Know Your Customer norms, and forwarded them to various government departments.
“Now that the election dates have come out, we are expecting any relaxation to come only once the new government is formed,” Kothari said.
The 10% customs duty on gold and the 20:80 import rule by the Reserve Bank of India have led to a severe shortage of gold in domestic markets and sharply pushed up premiums over the international prices, making it unviable for many bullion jewellers to function.
According to trade estimates, gold imports in the financial year ending March are unlikely to top 550 tn, compared to 845 tn last year.