Jewellers protest excise duty, shops shut for 15th day

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New Delhi, Mar 16: Gold and jewellery establishments across the country remained closed for the 15th day on Wednesday as traders are protesting the Budget proposal to levy 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.

Most jewellery houses have been closed since March 2, demanding  withdrawal of the proposed excise duty. Jewellers are also opposed to mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above. Striking associations in different parts of the country have decided to hold a protest rally in Ramlila Maidan hereThursday against the proposal, said All India Sarafa Association Vice-President, Surinder Kumar Jain.

Thousands of jewellers, bullion traders and artisans in the industry will take part in the rally. Jain said “Our protest will continue till the government withdraws the Budget proposal of 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.” The trade is estimated to have incurred huge losses during the strike so far, he added. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget 2016-17 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 later clarified only jewellers with 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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