Jewellers’ strike: Centre may roll back excise duty hike on jewellery

Jewellers’ strike: Centre may roll back excise duty hike on jewellery

Centre is likely to roll back excise duty hike on gold and non-branded jewellery, according to sources. This came after Congress President Sonia Gandhi stepped in as jewellers’ protests against excise and import duty hikes spread.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi met jewellers on Friday and has assured them of a relook into their demands regarding a rollback.

The jewellers strike has entered the 21st day on Friday. Hoping to find a solution, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will also meet members of the jeweller community on Friday.

Pranab met a few jewellers on Thursday as well, along with RJD chief Lalu Prasad.

Jewellers across the country have been demanding a complete rollback of excise duty on non-branded jewellery and a hike in import duty on gold. Many of the jewellers have shut shops in protest.

In the Budget 2012, Pranab had hiked the import duty on gold bars, coins and platinum from two to four per cent and levied one per cent excise duty on unbranded jewellery.

This led to the jewellery trade being shut down since March 17, terming the new levies “unviable”.

The All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (AIGJTF) made two representations to the Finance Ministry explaining the difficulties encountered by them and sought a complete rollback of the new proposals, prompting Pranab to assure that the government would set an “acceptable formula” on these proposals.

“However, Vivek John, Joint Secretary, Tax Research Unit-1 of the ministry has said that the issues raised by us are being examined by the Central Board of Direct Taxes and would be clarified shortly. But this is just a temporary relief and not acceptable to us,” Bamalwa said.

Until then, the AIGJTF has decided to continue with its ongoing agitation, he said.