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JEWELLERS ACROSS INDIA PROTEST AGAINST EXCISE DUTY HIKE ON GOLD

2012-04-02, Mon, 02 Apr 2012 ANI

NATURAL WITH HINDI SPEECH

DURATION: 2.58

SOURCE: ANI

TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS: NO ACCESS BBC

Jewellers across India protest against excise duty hike on gold.

Jewellers across India protest and plan to continue their strike, hurting demand and halting imports of gold and silver in the world's biggest buyer of bullion, in the wake of the increased excise duty on gold.

SHOWS:

NEW DELHI, INDIA (APRIL 02, 2012) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (ANI-NO ACCESS BBC)

1. JEWELLERS MARCHING ON THE ROAD

2. PROTESTERS HOLDING PLACARDS

3. A PROTESTER HOLDING A PLACARD READING 'ROLLBACK EXICEDUTY' IN HINDI

4. PROTESTERS RAISING SLOGANS

5. GATHERING OF PROTESTERS ON THE ROAD

6. A PLACARD READING 'ALL INDIA JEWELLERS ASSOCIATION, ROLLBACK THE UNJUST JUDICIAL SYSTEM' IN HINDI

7. GATHERING OF PROTESTERS, RAISING SLOGANS

8. PLACARDS SEEN IN THE HANDS OF PROTESTERS

9. A PLACARD READING ' FINANCE MINISTER IS A CROOK'

10. PROTESTERS RAISING SLOGANS

11. GATHERING OF PROTESTERS NEAR THE CONGRESS OFFICE

12. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) A PROTESTER, MANIK CHAND, SAYING: "The worker and his family are not getting proper food since many days. Seventeen days means a lot to us. We have to work everyday to earn our livelihood. So, we have come to meet Soniaji (India's Congress President) and we want that she must listen to our demands and the excise duty, which has been raised must be rolled back."

HALDWANI, UTTARAKHAND, INDIA (APRIL 02, 2012) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (ANI-NO ACCESS BBC)

13. SECURITY PERSONNEL MARCHING ALONG WITH THE PROTESTERS ON THE ROAD

14. PROTESTERS HOLDING A BANNER

15. PROTESTERS HOLDING PLACARDS

16. CARICATURE OF FEDERAL FINANCE MINISTER PRANAB MUKHERJEE DISPLAYED ON A PLACARD

17. PROTESTERS RAISING SLOGANS

18. GATHERING OF PROTESTERS

19. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) A PROTESTER, GIRIJESH SHAH, SAYING: "The federal finance minister (Pranab Mukherjee) is not paying heed to our plight and if he does not listen to our demands, then we along with our family members, would take to streets."

SILIGURI, WEST BENGAL, INDIA (APRIL 02, 2012) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (ANI-NO ACCESS BBC)

20. GATHERING OF PROTESTERS ON ROAD

21. PROTESTERS RAISING ANTI-GOVERNMENT SLOGANS

22. A GROUP OF PROTESTERS SHOUTING AND RAISING ANTI-GOVERNMENT SLOGANS

23. A PROTESTER RAISING SLOGAN

24. GATHERING OF PROTESTERS ON ROAD

25. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) A PROTESTER, PRADEEP BHATTACHARYA, SAYING:"We are staging protest against the raised excise duty on gold by the federal finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and this protest was continued for the past seventeen days. The government is not listening to our demands."

SURAT, GUJARAT, INDIA (APRIL 02, 2012) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (ANI-NO ACCESS BBC)

26. MEN SITTING BESIDE THE CLOSED SHOPS

27. A LOCK

28. CLOSED SHOPS IN THE MARKET AREA

29. A LOCK

30. CLOSED SHOPS IN THE MARKET AREA

STORY: Jewellers across India protest on Monday (April 02) and planned to continue their strike, hurting demand and halting imports of gold and silver in the world's biggest buyer of bullion, in the wake of the increased excise duty on gold.

The jewellers urged the government to rollback the proposed hike.

In New Delhi, hundreds of jewellers on Monday (April 02) marched towards the Congress office to meet chief of the party Sonia Gandhi and asked her to pay heed to their demand.

The strike had started on March 17, a day after the finance minister proposed to double the import duty on gold, an excise duty on unbranded jewellery along with a tax on transactions worth more than 200,000 rupees. Imports duty on silver remained unchanged at 6 percent on value

"The worker and his family are not getting proper food since many days. Seventeen days means a lot to us. We have to work everyday to earn our livelihood. So, we have come to meet Soniaji (India's Congress President) and we want that she must listen to our demands and the excise duty, which has been raised must be rolled back," said Manik Chand, a protestor.

On March 16, the government for the second time in 2012 doubled the import tax on gold bars, to 4 percent of value, triggering protest from jewellers.

The All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (AIGFTF) had called the strike against the one percent increase in the excise duty on gold.

In Haldwani city of India's northern Uttarakhand state, jewellers demonstrated and raised anti-government slogans.

"The federal finance minister (Pranab Mukherjee) is not paying heed to our plight and if he does not listen to our demands, then we along with our family members, would take to streets," a protestor, Girijesh Shah said.

Protesters were seen holding banners and placards displaying caricatures of federal finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Meanwhile, in Siliguri district of India's eastern West Bengal state, protesters said that they would intensify their stir if the government failed to pay heed to their demands.

"We are staging protest against the raised excise duty on gold by the federal finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and this protest was continued for the past seventeen days. The government is not listening to our demands," said a protestor, Pradeep Bhattacharya.

In Surat city of India's western Gujarat state, the diamond merchants also participated in the strike.

Most of the shops remain closed in the city and adversely affected the diamond business to a large extent.

On March 27, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had agreed to examine demand for removal of excise duty and come out with an "acceptable" solution.

The protests have impacted imports of gold and silver, with gold shipments in the March quarter estimated to have fallen by as much as 55 percent to 125-150 tonnes.

Gold imports for 2012 could fall to their lowest level in two years to 655 tonnes, a Reuters poll showed.

Higher gold imports meant the country spent more US dollars, increasing the total import bill and widening the current account deficit.

India is the world's biggest consumer of the yellow metal, with an annual consumption of 900 tonnes. Shipments could fall by a third to 655 tonnes in 2012 as import duties crimp demand, a Reuters poll found.

India's gold import bill, which stood at $46 billion last fiscal year, only next to petroleum, has been a cause of concern due to its impact on the country's balance of payments


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