India's love affair with gold tested as tax fight spurs jeweler shutdown
By Swansy Afonso
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
India's thriving gold markets have gone strangely quiet. Shops are shuttered across the world's largest consumer after China and would-be customers are getting frustrated in a country that adores bullion.
"I will have to wait and see when the shops open next," said Ghevar Jain, who stepped out in Mumbai this week to buy 200,000 rupees ($2,970) worth of jewelry for weddings next month. Instead, he had to return empty-handed as stores in the Zaveri Bazaar weren't trading. "I didn't know about the strike."
Jain had walked into a dispute that erupted this week between the nation's thousands of jewelers and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Intent on boosting revenue as he reshapes Asia's third-largest economy, Modi wants to impose a 1 percent excise duty on jewelry produced and sold within the country, and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the move in the budget on Monday. By Wednesday, members of the All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation, which represents jewelers nationwide, had started a three-day stoppage. ...
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