New Delhi: The strike by bullion traders and jewellers continued for the 16th day on Sunday to protest the proposed increase in import duty on gold and imposition of excise duty on unbranded jewellery.
Most jewellery houses in the country are closed since the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget proposals on March 16 imposed one percent excise duty on unbranded jewellery and doubled the import duty to 4 percent 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.
Haresh Soni, President, Gold Souk Mall Jewellers Association, said in a statement on Sunday that establishments of gems and jewellery traders in Gurgaon remained closed as part of the strike.
All India Sarafa Association President Sheel Chand Jain has said the strike will go on for an indefinite period until the government roll backs 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 percent, after doubling the tax in January.
Traders have warned that imposition of higher levies may lead to heavy paper work for small jewellers and a rise in retail gold prices by over six percent, which is seeking to rein in a widening current account-deficit.