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Telangana jewellers launch relay hunger fast

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Hyderabad: Jewellers in Telangana today launched an indefinite relay hunger strike here to press for their demand to withdraw the excise duty announced in the Budget.

Presenting the Budget on February 29, Finance Ministry Arun Jaitley 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.

According to a statement issued by Jeetender Agarwal, spokesperson of All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (Telangana Chapter), members from as many 30 associations based out of Hyderabad and Secunderabad joined the indefinite relay hunger strike and many jewellers closed their shops.

“Telangana jewellers took a spontaneous decision to go on a hunger strike after attending a meeting called by GJF in Mumbai on Monday (March 7). Members from all state jewellery Associations and trade bodies attended the meeting,” he said.

“The situation (in the sector) is so bad that Telangana jewellers are ready to take a group or a train full of jobless `kaarighars’ (workers) and craftsmen to Delhi to apprise the Government about the sad ground reality,” Agarwal said.

He hoped the Union Government would drop the excise duty move just as the proposal to tax EPF withdrawal was rolled back.

Most jewellery houses are closed since the duty on gold and diamond jewellery was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget on February 29, he added.

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