Jewellers’ strike against 1% excise duty enters 21st day

March22:The strike by a large number of jewellers and bullion traders continued for the 21st day today to protest against the Budget proposal to impose 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery, despite the government constituting a panel to look into their demand.

Most of the jewellers who had reopened their showrooms in confusion yesterday, kept shutters down today at Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazar and several other places, demanding rollback of the proposal.

Bullion markets in Chennai, however, remained open for regular trading.

All India Sarafa Association Vice-President Surinder Kumar Jain said the ongoing strike will go on indefinitely till the government rolls back the proposal.

“We will stick to our demand of rolling back of proposed excise duty completely”, Jain said.

Jewellery houses are closed since March 2 after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech on February 29, proposed levying 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.

“Jewellers will not end their strike till the government withdraws the proposal,” said Hukum Chand Soni, President, M P Sarafa Association.

Jewellers across the country have also been protesting against mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transaction of Rs 2 lakh and above.

The government yesterday constituted a panel under former

Chief Economic Advisor Ashok Lahri to look into the demand of jewellers who are protesting against imposition of 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery items.

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.

The sub-committee of a high-level panel constituted earlier to suggest steps to sort out taxation problems being faced by trade and industry will have    three representatives from the industry.

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