New Delhi: The protest by gold and jewellery traders entered the 13th day on Monday, March 14 to protest the proposed excise duty on non-silver jewellery items. Stepping up the pressure, striking associations in different parts of the country have collectively decided to hold a protest rally at Ramlila Maidan on March 17 against the Budget proposal to levy 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery, All India Sarafa Association Vice-President, Surinder Kumar Jain said.
Jewellers have been on a strike since March 2 protesting against the proposed excise duty imposition on non-silver jewellery items. Jewellers are also opposed to mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above. Finance Minister Arun 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. Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry has clarified that 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.
Traders in several parts of the country, including the metros, kept their shops closed for the 13th day, Jain added. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister, the association has urged to withdraw the proposal to ‘save the trade’, Jain said. With traders’ associations organising dharnas in various parts, the strike is now spreading to small towns as well, he said. PTI