At a time when most city traders are trying to figure out how the Goods and Service Tax (GST) will impact them when it comes into force from July 1, Chandigarh’s jewellers have packed up once again, as they do every year at this time, for a planned vacation.
All 280 jewellers affiliated to the Chandigarh Jewellers Association have taken a collective decision to remain closed for four days from June 22 to June 25 for their vacation. Not just Chandigarh jewellery shops, even Panchkula jewellers will be shut from June 19 to June 23.
Talking to Chandigarh Newsline, the general secretary of the Chandigarh Jewellers’ Association, Sanjay Sehgal, said, “It is just once a year when we take an off from work. It is true that we are flooded with queries from people who wish to buy gold ahead of the GST, but our regular customers can wait for us to come back.” The reason they all go together is to ensure that none among them takes advantage of the absence of the others.
Sehgal added that there was panic among people that gold might become expensive after the GST, following which people have just been going ahead with buying gold before the scheme rolls out.
Under the GST, a tax of 3 per cent would be levied on the gold which is at present 1 per cent in Chandigarh. If there is a purchase of gold amounting to Rs 30,000, the tax to be paid after the GST would be Rs 900. On Tuesday, the tax paid on the same amount was just Rs 300. Rani Sharma, a resident of Sector 21, said that they had to buy gold for two weddings in their house in September. “We have been hearing on the television that gold may become expensive, so we wish to buy it now,” said Sharma.
President of the Panchkula Jewellers’ Association, Deep Krishan, said this concept of going on vacation together was started eight years ago and it doesn’t leave any jeweller worried that somebody else will see more sales if he closes down. “GST won’t create much impact on the gold price. I don’t know why there is panic among people,” Krishan added.
“In fact, the workers at your shop too need a break during this time,” Raj Kumar, another jeweller, said.
But there is another association in Chandigarh with about 25 members that does not go on vacation. Vinod Talwar, president of Jewellers Association, said, “No, we people never join the other association in going on vacation. Moreover, people are coming forward with a number of queries due to GST.” The larger association is not worried about those who are staying back. “We have regular customers, who will not go to any other jeweller,” said Sehgal.