Bullion traders refuse to budge, shut shop for 8th day


New Delhi, Mar 9: Gold and jewellery establishments in many parts of the country remained closed for the 8th day on Wednesday as traders continue their protest against the  budgetary proposal to levy 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery. Jewellers are also opposed to mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above.

The bullion and jewellery establishments in several parts of the country, including metros, were shut for the eighth day, All-India Sarafa Association Vic-President Surinder Kumar Jain said. Meanwhile, jewellers in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, who had temporarily called off their strike following the Centre’s assurance to review the duty move, resumed their agitation by announcing an indefinite closure. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced the 1 per cent excise levy on jewellery in his Budget proposal on February 29. “It has been decided that jewellers will not end their strike till the government withdraws the proposal,” Jain added.

“We had temporarily called off our strike after the government said it will review our request. But the meeting in Mumbai on Monday remained inconclusive and we have no option but to resume our strike,” Madras Jewellers and Diamond Merchants Association President Jayantilal Challani said. Around 36,000 jewellery showrooms in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and 12 lakh employees are part of the strike, he said, adding that there had been a business loss of about Rs 2,000 crore in the region due to the stir. Jaitley 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 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery items.

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