March 30:A large number of gold and jewellery establishments remained shuttered today as traders continued their strike to protest the Budget proposal to levy one per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.
Most jewellery houses have been closed since March 2, demanding withdrawal of the proposed excise duty. Thousands of jewellers and workers in the industry staged a dharna at ‘Bara Choraha’ in Kanpur Wednesday protesting against the proposal, Mahesh Chandra Jain, President Uttar Pradesh Sarafa Association told PTI. However, most of the jewellery showrooms in Tamil Nadu were open for regular trading. The government has constituted a panel under former Chief Economic Advisor Ashok Lahri to look into the demands of jewellers. The panel, which has been asked to submit its report in 60 days, will look into issues related to compliance procedure for the excise duty, including records to be maintained, forms to be filled, operating procedures and other relevant issues. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget 2016-17 proposed one percent excise duty on jewellery without input credit, or 12.5 percent with input tax credit, on jewellery, excluding silver other than studded with diamonds and some other precious stones. Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal yesterday met President Pranab Mukherjee and asked him to intervene in the matter.