Bullion strike enters day 14 as FM refuses to budge

March 15: The protest by gold and jewellery traders entered the 14th day today even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rejected demands for rollback of one per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.
Jewellers across the country have been protesting against the proposed excise duty on  non-silver jewellery items as well as mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transaction of Rs 2 lakh and above.
Speaking in Lok Sabha yesterday, Jaitley rejected demands for rollback of the 1 per cent excise duty, saying the move is aimed at aligning gold with GST which he hopes will happen soon.
Business has drastically dropped by about 20 per cent since the government made quoting of PAN mandatory by customers for transaction of Rs 2 lakh and above, All-India Sarafa Association Vice-President Surinder Kumar Jain said.
Jaitley in the Budget for 2016-17 had 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.
The finance ministry has clarified that jewellers only with a turnover of more than Rs 12 crore will be liable to pay the proposed excise duty on non-silver jewellery items.
Meanwhile, traders in the national capital will observe a ‘bandh’ on March 17 in support of jewellers who are on an indefinite strike against the proposal, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said in a statement.

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