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Rahul Gandhi bats for jewellers, pulls up pro-industrialist Govt.

New Delhi : Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who joined the jewellers’ protest at the Jantar Mantar against the Centre’s excise duty proposal, on Wednesday dubbed the move as an attempt by the Centre to stamp small businesses and alleged that the ruling dispensation was more concerned about the industrialists and corporate.

“When Modi ji released the Make in India logo, I wondered why was it a “babbar sher” (lion) and not a “Charkha”, which was Gandhiji’s idea for Make in India… Later, I realised the reason for “babbar sher” logo, as Make in India initiative was meant to help industrialists and corporate, not the poor,” he said.

“Babbar sher ke peechhe 5-10 udyogpatiyon ki shakti hai, excise ke maadhyam se chhote businessman ka gala pakadne ka koshish kar rha (This lion is backed by 5-10 industrialists, the excise is being used to strangle small businesses),” he added.

Gandhi further vowed his party’s support to the jewellers and said that the Congress has always stood by weak and the oppressed.

“I am not here to only give speeches but to stand together with you in your protest,” he said.

He also recalled Gandhi ji’s talisman, advising the decision makers to consider the poorest of the poorest before taking decisions, saying that Congress party stood by it.

“Gandhi ji said, who is the weakest in the country?, any action of yours should be aimed at benefitting him (poor and weak). This is Congress,” he added.

The Congress vice-president had earlier met with the jewellers’ on March 11.

Jewellers’ in several parts of the country, including Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, have kept down shutters for over a month now.

The Centre has constituted a panel to look into the jewellers’ demands.

The panel, which has been asked to submit its report in 60 days, will look into issues related to the compliance procedure for the excise duty, including records to be maintained, forms to be filled, operating procedures and other relevant aspects.

The government, in the Budget for 2016-17, had proposed one percent excise duty on jewellery without input credit or 12.5 percent with input tax credit on jewellery excluding silver other than those studded with diamonds and precious stones. (ANI)