Over 100,000 jewellery shops owing allegiance to more than 300 associations across India will observe a day's token strike on February 10 in protest against the government rule making permanent account number (PAN) card proof mandatory on purchases of Rs 2 lakh and above.
"We strongly oppose this regulatory measure which has badly hit millions of jewellers and artisans employed in this industry. All associations are jointly discussing a protest across the nation and have declared there will be a token strike on February 10," All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) Director Bachhraj Bamalwa told the media here.
He said the PAN card rule has discouraged majority of semi-urban and rural jewellery buyers, engaged either in farming with no income tax obligation or in small trade practices.
"With just 223 million PAN cards issued in India, how can the industry survive with such restrictions?" Bamalwa asked.
He said the restriction on jewellery buyers has already dented business volumes, with the total turnover dropping over 30 per cent since the imposition of the restriction about a month ago.
The slowdown has affected jobs of millions of workers, artisans and small traders.
GJF zonal Chairman (east) Sankar Sen said the jewellers were losing customers, mainly in small towns and rural areas where a majority of population don't have PAN cards.
He said the GJF was in touch with the union finance ministry and has urged it to make PAN card mandatory on jewellery purchases of over Rs10 lakh instead of the present Rs 2 lakh.
From January 1, PAN card was made mandatory for all transactions above Rs 2 lakh in cash or through card in the entire gems and jewellery sector.