Jewellers in the country have decided to go on a one-day token strike on February 10 to protest against the compulsory provision of PAN card proof or a form-based declaration for purchases of over Rs. 2 lakh in a financial year. The All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation on Monday announced the decision to strike work.
It said over 300 associations of the jewellery trade with over 1 lakh shops would down their shutters on the day as they faced steep resistance from buyers against such eligibility or disclosure norms and had seen a sharp drop in business, particularly in the rural and semi-urban areas.
Effective January 1 this year, the Centre has made PAN cards a mandatory provision for jewellery transactions of over Rs. 2 lakh.
Sankar Sen, GJF’s East Zone Chairman, told presspersons a third of the business had declined since the imposition of the provision.
He pointed out that most buyers in the rural or semi-urban areas, generally women, either did not have PAN cards or were unwilling to sign the declaration form.
“Typically, buyers would not like to declare the source of the gold or disclose the family income fearing unknown surveillance problems. Since agriculture income is out of the income tax net, PAN cards are hardly available in this sector. Additionally, people are secretive about old family jewellery that has traditionally been handed down through the generations. All these render the new provisions impracticable,” Sen said.
These restrictions have already threatened the existence of a large majority of traders and gold artisans in the rural and semi-urban areas.
“We are in touch with the Finance Ministry, urging them to make the PAN card mandatory for jewellery purchase of over Rs. 10 lakh, instead of the present Rs. 2 lakh,” he said.