Nellore: The ongoing strike by gold traders has been seriously affecting the livelihood of traditional goldsmiths depending on the field since decades. In fact the gold smiths of Nellore are very popular not only in Andhra Pradesh but also entire country and even in Asia for their fine workmanship pertaining to low-weight and superior quality stone studded gold jewellery. However, several goldsmiths have been forced to look for alternative livelihood due to the reluctance of customers to wait as readymade jewellery is available across the counter.
The entry of corporate firms and unprecedented increase in gold prices during recent years also played their role in forcing the goldsmiths to look for alternative livelihood. The present strike from last 15 days is another bolt from the blue for the community, said S.K. Zameer who is having a workshop for making gold jewellery. He said that several traditional goldsmiths plying auto rickshaws for survival and some of them are doing electrical works too to eke out living.
State Chief Organiser of AP Bullion Gold Silver and Diamond Merchants Association Santhilal Jain said that there are more than 1,500 gold shops in Nellore district and nearly 10,000 workforce including goldsmiths have been depending on the trade. He said that bringing the gold into the gambit of Central Excise will destroy the field especially small traders and goldsmiths as they have to maintain account at eve-ry stage either while collecting gold for making items or delivering back and in between.
“Central Excise was imposed in 1962 during Morarji Desai regime and it was removed in 1990 when V.P Singh was the Prime Minister and this led to steep growth in jewellery trade” Mr Santhi Lal said. According to Mr Santhilal every goldsmith has to hire 10 to 15 workers and pay their salaries and the new rule will force them to hire an accountant also, which is beyond their capacity. A gold trader Subba Rao has alleged that all the latest measures including imposing the one per cent central excise duty, 1 per cent VAT and two per cent turnover tax is meant to wipe out small and medium gold traders and goldsmiths in a bid to help the Corporate run Jewellery showrooms. He said that the government can control blackmoney by imposing restrictions on gold biscuits while stressing that there is no meaning in playing with their lives.
Source From Deccan Chronicle
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