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Jewellers across India start three day strike against excise duty

Jewellers today started their three-day pan-India strike to protest proposed re-imposition of 1 per cent excise duty on gold and diamond jewellery and mandatory quoting of PAN by consumers for transaction of Rs 2 lakh and above.

More than 3 lakh jewellers participated in the strike on Day 1, an industry body claimed.

“Over 300 associations, that consists of over 3 lakh manufacturers, retainers, artisans among others, participated in the stir across the country. The strike has been 100 per cent successful,” All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) Chairman Sreedhar G V told PTI.

Sreedhar said the gems and jewellery industry has been forced to go on strike due to the government’s apathy towards the sector reflected in the proposal to re-impose 1 per cent excise duty in the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on February 29.

“We were already facing challenges and businesses have gone down by 25-30 per cent after the Government’s decision in January to make PAN cards mandatory for any transaction of Rs 2 lakh and above. Instead of increasing the slab to Rs 10 lakh from Rs 2 lakh and reducing the customs duty to 2 per cent from 10 per cent, the Government has created more difficulties by re-introducing 1 per cent excise duty,” he rued.

He said in 2005 and 2012, the Centre had introduced 1 per cent excise duty in the gems and jewellery sector, but had to drop the move as it was not deemed practical with the industry comprising mostly under-educated but highly skilled people who are not equipped to handle the paper work required for it.

Jaitley proposed 1 per cent excise duty on jewellery without input credit or 12.5 per cent with input tax credit on jewellery, excluding silver other than studded with diamonds and some other precious stones.

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