Protesting jewellers meet Sonia Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee; strike may be called off
Agitating jewellers and bullion traders called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today to press for their demand for a complete roll back of excise duty on unbranded jewellery and the hike in import duty. The delegation comprised of over 25 members of the gems and jewellery trade including GJEPC chairman Rajiv Jain, GJF president Bachchraj Bamalwa, members of the GJF BOD Vinod Hayagriv, Ashok Minawala, Pramod Derewala and Anil Talwar amongst others. Although no official statements have been released, the jewellers have been given an assurance by the finance minister, who listened sympathetically to their plea and said that with the parliament coming in session later this month, their demand for a roll back on excise duty will most probably be met, although on the issue pertaining to the import duty the government will not budge. Meanwhile they are to resume their normal workings without fear of any interruptions by the government, as told by Rajiv Jain and Pramod Derewala following the meeting. Following the turn of events it seems likely that the strike after 21 days may be called off. The jewellers are expected to make an official statement by today evening. The Sarafa Association despite the assurance given by the ministers, has decided to continue with the strike, according to sources, until official action has been taken with regard to their demands.