Jewellers in the national capital on April 13 temporarily called off their 42-day strike, demanding rollback of proposed excise duty on non-silver jewellery, for 12 days after the government’s assurance that there will be no harassment by excise officials.
“We have decided to temporarily call off the strike till April 24 after the government’s assurance,” Surinder Kumar Jain, Vice-President of All India Sarafa Association said. Jewellers in Maharashtra have also called off their strike temporarily from April 14 to April 24, Maharashtra Rajya Saraf Suvarnakar Federation President Fatechand Ranka said.
Jewellery houses remained closed since March 2 after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Budget proposed levying 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery. Jewellers, bullion traders and artisans reopened their establishments yesterday in Rajasthan, said Subhash Mittal, President, Rajasthan Sarafa Sangh in Jaipur.
“If the government does not consider our demand of rolling back its decision of imposing 1 per cent excise duty, we will resume our strike from April 25,” said Ram Avtar Verma President of Bullion and Jewellery Association. Meanwhile, jewellers in Meerut also reopened their shops today.
The gems and jewellery industry is estimated to have incurred over Rs 1 lakh crore loss due to the 42-day strike. Over three lakh jewellers from more than 300 associations kept their establishments closed across the country since March 2. Jewellers are also against the mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above.
The Centre has already constituted a panel under former Chief Economic Advisor Ashok Lahri to look into the demands of the jewellers. The panel, which has been asked to submit its report in 60 days, will look into issues related to compliance procedure for the excise duty, including records to be maintained, forms to be filled, operating procedures and other relevant issues.