The Centre on Monday said there was "no impact" of a nationwide strike called by a "very small section of jewellers" against gold hallmarking rules. However, 350 associations and federations including All India Gems and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) which supported the strike said they received a "strong response" as most shops barring big corporates remained shut for the day.
"The strike called by a very small section of jewellers has had no impact," the Consumer Affairs Ministry said in a statement. The said call of strike was itself based on "untenable grounds" and "an attempt was made to misinform fellow jewellers" about the various provisions of the hallmarking scheme, it said.
"As expected, the misguided attempt by these limited set of persons to disrupt the normal functioning of jewellery business today has failed miserably," it added. Meanwhile, the ministry also released letters of jewellers' bodies -- All India Jewellers and Goldsmith Federation (AJGF), Swanakaar Sabha, Gems and Jewellery Manufacturer Association Organisation (GJMA), Sarva Swarnkaar Samaj Netrutva Vikas Sanstha which opposed the strike and supported the Hallmarking Unique ID (HUID) system.
For instance, AJGF National President Pankaj Arora, in a letter, claimed that the strike had a "partial effect." "Particularly few of the big jewellery traders and corporate jewellers remained closed. Since there was no justification for the strike, the jewellery traders across the country rejected the strike," he said.
Arora further said "some big and corporate jewellers do not want the government to know their business activities (and) have given a call of strike due to their vested interests". On the contrary, big corporate jewellery showrooms like Tanishq, Kalyan Jewellers, Malbar Gold and Diamonds, PC Jewellers -- remained opened on Monday as per the photos released by the ministry.
The ministry released photos of some jewellers' shops which remained open in different parts of the country. PP Jewellers, Heera Panna Jewellers, Talwarsons Jewellers, Lalchnd, Epari Sadashiv Jewellers, Caratlane -- also remained opened as per the photos released by the ministry.
According to the ministry, gold hallmarking is being adopted by a record number of consumers each day. More than 1 crore pieces of jewellery have been hallmarked in few weeks. "A great many associations of jewellery business have also voiced their concern and opposition to idea of going on strike," it said.
Asserting that gold hallmarking is in the interest of both consumers as well as businesses, the ministry reiterated that it has always been open to constructive suggestions that will help in implementation of mandatory gold hallmarking that has come into force from June 16 in a phased manner. "Vested interests who fear for the end of decades old opaque and possibly business practices should come forward with open heart and embrace the change like others," it added.