Jewellers strike enters the third day, FM assures help

SansadTV Bureau

Gems and Jewelers Association announced to continue the strike till March 07, to protest imposition of Excise Duty.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has assured the jewellers that he will look into their grievances regarding imposition of 1 per cent excise duty and mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transaction of Rs 2 lakh and above, an industry body said today.

“We have met the Finance Minister in New Delhi and gave him our representation. We told him about difficulties the industry is facing due to certain government policies. He gave us a patient hearing and has assured us to look into the matter,” All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) Chairman Sreedhar G V told media.

Sreedhar added that Jaitley expressed concern and asked for alternatives to the excise duty.

Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry later in the day came out with the clarification that jewellers with turnover of more than Rs 12 crore will be liable to pay 1 per cent excise on non-silver jewellery items.

Last evening, the GJF delegation had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and gave him their representation.

“The PM gave us his valuable time and heard about our plight,” he added.

More than 300 associations comprising over three lakh manufacturers, retainers and artisans among others are on a three-day nationwide strike since March 2 to protest the government’s proposal to reimpose 1 per cent excise duty in Budget 2016-17.

Meanwhile, GJF has decided to extend their strike till March 7. The body also urged the government to increase the slab of mandatory PAN cards for any transaction of Rs 2 lakh and above to Rs 10 lakh.

The industry is estimated to have incurred a loss of Rs 21,000 crore during the three-day strike, which includes bullion, diamond and jewellery.

Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has urged the government to roll back levy of excise on gold and diamond jewellery.

Its Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said the levy of excise will prove to be counter productive and will badly hit the trade on one side and will also cause revenue loss to the government.

The size of gems and jewellery industry is estimated at around Rs 3.15 lakh crore with the potential to grow to Rs 5 lakh crore by 2018.

(With agency inputs).