Citizens' Issues
Public Interest Exclusive
Jewellers’ strike against duty increase continues

Jewellers at some places are still on strike against the increase in duties in the Budget 2012-13. However, some industry experts feel that since the market and consumers have adjusted with the hike, there is no need to continue with the strike

The three-day strike of the jewellery industry has now become an indefinite strike in certain areas. The jewellers are protesting against the Budget proposals announced by the finance minister which they claim will make buying gold and silver dearer for the consumer.  

To control the current account deficit (CAD) partly caused by the imports of gold and other precious metals in the first three quarters of this fiscal, the finance minister has proposed additional duties to limit the imports of gold and silver. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has proposed to increase import duty on gold to 4%, increase excise duty on branded and non-branded jewellery by 1%, 2% tax on cash sales of over Rs2 lakh, while removing the 1% excise duty on branded silver jewellery.

According to the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) this has put the entire jewellery industry of India and the 3.5 million people it directly employs under great uncertainty. The jewellers are demanding a roll back of excise duty. The jewellers are alleging that jewellery will out of reach for the aam admi. The new measures will encourage black market or smuggling. Jewellers are alleging that too much of unnecessary paper work would be involved.  

“The strike is against the announcements, such as increase in custom duties, imposing excise duty, made in the recent Union Budget. All the jewellers are united to fight and safeguard the interest of the customers who cannot fight with the government. For instance before the Budget, for buying one kilogram of gold one had to pay duties of around Rs80,000-Rsd90,000. But after budget it rose to whopping Rs1.7 lakh. The jewellers will pass on this additional cost to the customer. But the buyers have to shell out extra money. Because of this we expect the imports to come down significantly” says Karan Vasa, associate vice president, RiddiSiddhi Bullions Ltd.

However, some people feel that after the Budget the market has adjusted to the prices by passing the hike on to consumers and there is no need for the strike. Mukul Sonawala, former president of the Bombay Bullions Association, said, “In my view such strike is not required. Post budgetary announcements, the prices have been adjusted in the local market. Retailers and wholesalers will pass on the cost to the customers.  But the cost itself comes to just 0.3% which the customers will bear. In my view that (the increase in cost) is little.  People who want to buy gold will buy in any case.”

Measures announced in Budget 2012-13:

  •  The Budget has proposed an excise duty of 1% on unbranded precious jewellery. 1% duty on branded jewellery existed earlier.
  •   Increase in basic customs duty on standard gold bars; gold coins of purity exceeding 99.5% and platinum from 2% to 4% and on non-standard gold from 5% to 10%. Excise duty on refined gold is being increased in the same proportion from 1.5% to 3%.
  •   In order to prevent round-tripping, it is proposed to impose basic customs duty of 2% on cut and polished, coloured gemstones at par with diamonds.
  •   The budget also proposed to levy 1% of TDS for transactions valued at more than Rs2,00,000. All such transactions must be backed by PAN details
  •   Service tax of 12.5% levied on non-branded gold and jewellery. Even artisans and craftsmen come under the ambit.



B V Vijaya BE CIS

5 years ago

Jewellers are making a big show. Gold is not purchased every month like grocery etc or not purchased like cloth. The poor jewellers live in their SMALL HOUSES costing 2 to 15 crores. It is said that the raise is going to affect 3.5 million people in the country which is less than 0.3% of Indian population.
I do not understand the hue & cry of Jewellery industry on the rise of duties levied by Union govt on imported gold & so on. Let us think how many people are affected by this in the country. It was on Akshay Tadige the Lord Krishna went to the house of Sudhama, who was his friend of child hood. Sudhama din’t have much to offer to Krishna than “Avalakki” (in Hindi POHA). Krishna was very much pleased by this. In turn he blesses him. Sudhama’s status improves gradually. To day this has been commercially used by Jewellery Industry giving big advertisements and inspire a common man to purchase gold on Akshay Tadige.
When fuel prices were raised there was no such cries. Similarly in the recent budget the service charges have been raised to 12% which translates to 12.36% with cess. Both of these have a big and cascading effect on common man. There was no reaction & no rollback is seen on these. Politicians make a drama like ”I pretend like beating you & you pretend like crying” No politician is affected by these raises as they are paid by the Govt OR they can afford because of unethical money amassed by them. [A few exceptions may be there]
I also endorse the comments of Mr. Param. Politicians, bureaucrats, people of affluent class purchase gold & real estates very frequently & amass wealth. This forms one major element for increasing inflation. How many politicians are living Like Gandhi, Basavanna, Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh, Lal Bahadur Shastry, Abdul Kalam. None of them made properties for their family. They put good examples with Good Morale.
Think whether 0.3% is bigger or effect of 2.06% raise in all service industry is big which affects a common man. MERA BHARAT MAHAN


5 years ago

"The jewellers are alleging that jewellery will out of reach for the aam admi."

This is hilarious. I thought 'aam admi' was more stuck with 'roti, kapada, makaan' & didn't realise that jewellery was part of basic necessities...
I wonder if the security guards outside these jewellery shops would even allow an 'aam admi' to enter their premises!

Asian affluent need 12% annual returns to achieve wealth goals: StanChart

According to the Standard Chartered Bank report, to meet the expectations of the Asian affluent, banks need brand reputation, service and advisory process

Despite a slight dip in short-term wealth confidence due to an uncertain economic landscape, affluent Asians remain confident in growing their wealth - they have an aggressive wealth target of growing their wealth to $4 million in 10 years. This means they need an annual return of 12%.  This is according to The Future Priority Report: a study conducted from October to November 2011 by Standard Chartered Bank and Scorpio Partnership which captures sentiment of over 2,700 Asian affluent individuals across nine markets.

The report also reveals that while most respondents see Asia as the region offering excellent wealth creation opportunities, in the longer term they adopt a more international perspective. Further, Asian affluent are sophisticated wealth builders, adopting a dual-prong approach of investing, and using credit or leverage to enhance their returns.

According to the report, wealth is created through a balance of investing and managing debt. To meet the expectations of the Asian affluent, three factors stand out in importance for banks namely brand reputation, service and advisory process. There are three themes which will grow in importance in the future for banks namely education, internet and advice.

Wealth confidence is a defining characteristic of the affluent and a strong majority of Asia’s affluent (77%) remain confident in growing their wealth in the next 12 months, although the confidence level is slightly lower than that of the previous year (81%). Of the nine countries surveyed, India and Indonesia stand out as being the most confident (88% and 98% respectively), while Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan share similar levels of wealth confidence at 70%, 68% and 67% respectively.

Foo Mee Har, global head of priority and international banking, Standard Chartered Bank, said: “Customers, not banks, are driving the agenda in Asia. The Asian affluent are clearly wealthier and more sophisticated than before. They have distinctive and more complex needs and hence cannot be treated with a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Therefore, to succeed in this important client segment, banks need to focus more on their service and quality of their advisory processes, rather on the products they sell. Assuming the role of a trusted advisor also means really listening to what the client is asking for, and treating them in a holistic manner to include their families, their business and their global ambitions.”


Public Interest Exclusive
Politicians have ingenious ways of using black money for elections: CEC

From fake marriage parties to carrying money in ambulances, politicians are always one step ahead of election officials

“Despite taking preventive measures, black money and unregulated money flow continues to be a biggest hurdle in the way of free and fair elections in India,” said Dr SY Quraishi, India’s Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). He was speaking at a seminar titled “Democracy at Crossroads—Need for Electoral Reforms”, organised by Moneylife Foundation and V Citizens Action Network (VCAN).

Dr Quraishi said, “It is common knowledge that black money is used in elections. In private conversations, after elections when we (Election Commission) cannot do any more harm, politicians tell us what they really spent. We do everything we can do to catch them. We keep track on the money flow and had seized crores of rupees during elections in the past. It does act as a deterrent. But they are always ahead of us and find some new modus operandi to circulate money.”

He gave interesting anecdotes about many ways candidates bribe voters, which in reality is an electoral crime. For instance, in one case, a marriage party was arranged by a candidate during election time. “Ironically, when one of our officers casually walked in that wedding there was neither bride nor bridegroom. On the contrary, a crowd of more than 1,000 people were enjoying the meal and drinks,” explained Dr Quraishi.

Another new technique of supplying money to the voters is by using ambulance and funeral vans. Dr Quraishi said, “Earlier money was easily transferred to the voters using cars. It was hidden in all possible parts of the car. But after our raids, they started using ambulances and funeral vehicles. We had received many complaints regarding the same, but checking these vehicles is a task. We cannot stop an ambulance on mere suspicion and run the risk of a genuine patient being affected. So our solution is to follow the ambulance and then check it the moment it reaches the hospital. This amounts to spending more time as well as money.”

According to the EC, the issue of black money used in election campaigning led to a debate if there is a need to increase the limit on the campaigning expenditure of each candidate. “People told us that the ceiling actually forces candidates to cheat. So we requested the law ministry to increase it. Accordingly, we increased it Rs16 lakh from the Rs10 lakh cap followed till last year in case of Vidhan Sabha elections, and to Rs40 lakh from 25 lakh in case of Lok Sabha elections. We considered 16 years of inflation,” said Dr Quraishi.

However, he added, “When we analysed the returns filed by these candidates, after elections we found that the average spending was Rs8 lakh. Now why would it be so low despite having Rs16 lakh as legal limit? …Because it is black money that has been used. White money is anyways not used. This is our concern.”

Dr Quraishi told that the efforts taken up EC to keep track on the money flow has yielded some results. “MPs (Members of Parliament) and MLAs (Members of Legislative Assemblies) tell us that this has encouraged them to manage with less money. Even our analysis shows that crime and money in election is a competitive phenomena. If one party puts a candidate with criminal background, another party will put candidate having more criminal cases. While we strive to curb the money power menace, somebody has to take a lead to break this competitive attitude.”



dayananda kamath k

5 years ago

one of the politician who became a finace minister fo state for banking was caught with bribe money red handed but he escaped saying that the money was paid as investment in national savings certificate and handed over nsc certificate to the reported during those times in news papers.


5 years ago

Bureaucrats are no better either. What is this hushed discussion about the criminal-bureaucrat-politician nexus? What happens in the posh clubs and top hotels in the evenings when bureaucrats of all levels meet to exchange "suitcases"?


Ratanlal Purohit

In Reply to Aban 5 years ago

I am amused. You should see yes minister or yes prime minister bbc serial.
But we are innovators of highest degree. We have boot legger tricks of the trade. Havala rukkas. Angadias. Greeting cards of intrinsic values by couriers and the list is endless. They are always ahead.
I know a very interesting story.
Watchman asked a retiring sweeper as to what was he carrying in the wheel burrow. The wheel burrow came the reply.
Some time we fail to see the obvious. .
Suppose your symbol is cycle your ingenuity is enough. And does Qureshi say about doles etc
Karna hai to bahut kuchh. Nahi to sirf Baaten Mulakaten


5 years ago

While it is not denied that what the CEC says is not incorrect, the bureaucrats only are the people who show the path to the politicians in this regard. In fact, a whole department of income tax with a huge number of people are at their service to launder the unaccounted incomes of the politicians and, in the process, 99% bureaucrats do the same. One should not forget that the income tax department is a subordinate office under the department of Revenue in the union Finance Ministry and the Revenue Secretary is invariably an IAS, also invariably junior (in terms of the entry into civil services) to the Chairman and Members of CBDT and even most of the chief commissioners of income tax. This gives the bureaucrat to boss over the IT deptt and the entire chain in the IAS enjoy the privilege as the closest ally of the politicians. It is unfair to blacken the black faces of the politicians and blame them for a corrupt system prevailing in the country and also controlling the entire machinery of elections. The bureaucrats must first look into their hearts and accept the fact that, it is their flexible backbone and the sky high greed (cf. the case of the IAS couple of the MP cadre) that gives total freedom to the breed of humans called politicians. If the govt. or the CEC can show the courage of investigating into the background of all civil servants (IAS in particular) before they jumped into the world of politics, the truth will come out. A corrupt IAS officer was shown the utmost consideration of submitting his VRS papers in view of the huge documentary and clinching evidence of corruption during the very first day in the Service. That corrupt man became a most powerful man in a short lived government. Ask any honest income tax man (very few are still there) and they will tell you the empires built by the top most civilians, the bureaucrats who run this country through the politicians. Petty clerks in the central and state governments or municipalities or giovt. teachers become billionaires in politics, while sharing their booty initially with their superiors or higher ranks of police ans IAS officers. Later, of course, they are saluted and deferred to by the former! Will any NGO engaged in fight against corruption make this study?

P M Ravindran

5 years ago

Isn't it really a pity that we have such honest but helpless officers at the helm of affairs?

And then what is the EC doing about Sec 49(0) (right to reject)?

And about manipulation of electoral rolls?

Yes, 10 days after I got my VIC when I went to the polling booth my name was in the list of deleted names! Considering the trials and tribulations I had undergone to 1st get my name in the electoral rolls and then the VIC, I should not have been blamed even if I had murdered the officials had they come in view at that time!

And mine was not an isolated case. There were plenty and some to them took the matter to the high court and the crime got worse there. If the initial crime could be compared to causing death not amounting to murder, this was absolute murder! The court ruled against the petitioners saying that even if they had voted it would not have made any difference to the election results!

Nagesh Kini FCA

5 years ago

As one present at the CEC's talk, I can say it was quite enlightening. His tongue in cheek real life instances of mischief like wedding without the bride and bridegroom should have booked the inviting in-laws booking the hall/pandal, and also the blaring ambulance without the patient - confiscate the cash and put behind the bars the person who booked it.
It is only instant punitive action that can inspire confidence in the public and put the fear of the devil in the law breakers. Long drawn FIR,. arrests let off on instant bail are no deterrents. Putting the culprits behind the bars and slapping heavy penalties is the best and effective instant remedy.


P M Ravindran

In Reply to Nagesh Kini FCA 5 years ago

Rightly said! But will the EC and their officials do it? No way! Why? Because they are one who have their cake and eat it too! Forever pulling wool over the eyes of the gullible and innocents!

Ratanlal Purohit

5 years ago

COMPETITIVE has a new definition to English Dictionary. OUTDOING. ALL are outdoing each other. Who can complain? Will they?
Ofcourse not. They become lawmakers. Slowly all acts will be enacted by SC? Then you call it Judicial Activism.
We should consider right too recall. 50+% vote criteria? Debar the charge sheeted. Minimum education or other experience criteria. And how to curn dynasty. Very Nasty route. Put a thought.

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