Bullion traders strike enters 13th day

Most jewellery houses remained closed ever since the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget proposals on 16 March 2012 announced 1% levy on unbranded jewellery and doubling of import duty to 4% on gold

The strike by bullion traders and jewellers to protest the proposed increase in import duty on gold and imposition of excise duty on unbranded jewellery entered the 13th day today.

Most jewellery houses remained closed ever since the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget proposals on 16 March 2012 announced 1% levy on unbranded jewellery and doubling of import duty to 4% 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 on Friday, said All India Sarafa Association president Sheel Chand Jain.  

He said the strike will go on for an indefinite period until the government rollback the taxes imposed on the bullion trade.

However, bowing to protests by jewellers and demands in Parliament, the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee earlier this week hinted at a rollback of the excise duty on unbranded jewellery but ruled out a similar move in case of the hike in import duty on gold and platinum.

“I understand the plight of small jewellers... I am considering it... The period that will be available from now and [passage of] Finance Bill, I will come out with an acceptable formulation,” Mukherjee had said in his reply to the general discussion on the Budget in the Lok Sabha.

Market sources claimed that the industry has lost business of over Rs18,000 crore in the last 12 days even as demand is picking up for the marriage season.

The government had proposed a hike in import duty on gold bars, coins and platinum to 4% from 2%, after doubling the tax in January. A levy on gold ore, concentrate and so-called dore bars (a semi-pure alloy of gold and silver) for refining will be doubled to 2% and an excise tax on refined gold will climb to 3% from 1.5%.

Traders have warned that imposition of higher levies may lead to a rise in retail gold prices by over 6% in the country, which is seeking to rein in a widening current account-deficit partly fuelled by record purchases in 2011.

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GAIL to supply gas to IT park

GAIL has “signed a Gas Transmission Agreement (GTA) with Information Technology Park Ltd (ITPL), Bangalore, for supply of around 60,000 standard cubic metres of natural gas per day”

State-owned gas utility Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) India Ltd  said it has signed an agreement to supply natural gas to Information Technology (IT) Park, Bangalore.

The company, in a press statement, said it has “signed a Gas Transmission Agreement (GTA) with Information Technology Park Ltd (ITPL), Bangalore, for supply of around 60,000 standard cubic metres of natural gas per day.”

ITPL is likely to start consumption of natural gas early next year in their upcoming captive power plant. The gas will be supplied to ITPL from the Dabhol-Bangalore Pipeline being set up by GAIL at an investment of around Rs3,500 crore.

The pipeline will connect the Dabhol- LNG Terminal, operated by Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd to gas consumption centres in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.

The Dabhol terminal is being commissioned and the pipeline upto Bangalore is expected to be commissioned by August of this year.

GAIL India’s shares closed at Rs368.10 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 0.81% up from the previous close.

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Tata Motors hikes commercial vehicle prices

“We have hiked the prices of our commercial vehicles by 2%-5% considering the hike in excise duty on vehicles and chassis,” Tata Motors president (commercial vehicle business unit), Mr Ravi Pisharody said

Tata Motors has hiked the prices of its entire range of commercial vehicles by up to Rs60,000 following excise duty hike in the Budget.

“We have hiked the prices of our commercial vehicles by 2%-5% considering the hike in excise duty on vehicles and chassis. This has been done with effect from 17 March 2012,” Tata Motors president (commercial vehicle business unit), Mr Ravi Pisharody, told reporters at the Defence Expo.

The price hike will vary between Rs5,000 and Rs60,000 depending upon different models.

When asked if this is going to affect the demand, Mr Pisharody said: “In the near term, definitely it will impact sales. It usually takes 4-6 months to fully absorb hike by the market.”

The company is expecting a growth of 18%-19% in its commercial vehicle sales in 2011-12.

Tata Motors has recently also increased the prices of its passenger vehicles, including the Nano, by up to Rs35,000 with immediate effect due to hike in excise duty.

Tata Motor’s shares closed at Rs271.95 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 0.26% up from the previous close.

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