Surat: Diamond merchants to protest against proposed GST rates

An employee checks the shape of a diamond through a magnifying glass, inside the polishing department of a diamond processing unit at Surat, in the western Indian state of Gujarat January 5, 2013. Picture taken January 5, 2013. To match Analysis INDIA-ECONOMY/GUJARAT REUTERS/Amit Dave (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY WEALTH)

Surat: Diamond merchants in India’s diamond production hub Surat, have called for a day-long bandh today in order to push for an exemption from the three percent tax levied on polished diamonds, under the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill.

The industries will remain closed on Friday as a mark of protest against the 18 percent tax levied by the GST council, in addition to a three percent charge on polished diamonds.

Earlier, traders and power-loom weavers in Surat observed a shutdown on Thursday over a demand for the withdrawal of the GST, as they feel the bill is against their interests.

On Wednesday, the traders convened a meeting in the city’s Good Luck textile market and decided to call for a complete shutdown.

In the Vyapari Sangarsh Samiti ( VSS) meeting, traders from 165 textile markets in various areas of the city were urged to support the bandh by shutting their shops.

The crowd ridiculed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ( BJP) slogan of ‘acche din’, and used the phrase ‘aafat ke din,’ while referring to the GST.

The bandh has gained support from around 80 textile associations across the country.

All the textile association leaders are expected to meet in New Delhi from June 16 to June 26 to represent the GST issue to the Government.

Many traders even intend to sit on a hunger strike from July 1, if their demands aren’t met.

The 17th meeting of the GST council will be held on June 18 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.


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