The Indian Bullion and Jewellers Association has called off its 19-day strike against the levy of one per cent excise duty as the Centre agreed to set up a high-level task force led by Ashok Lahiri to look into the issues being raised. The committee will have three industry members, legal and CBEC representatives.

Jewellers have been given time till April 30 to register with the Excise Department.

Their associations have claimed lost business of ₹20,000 crore during the strike.

The task force will submit its report within 60 days and its recommendations will be finalised and notified subsequently, said IBJA President Mohit Kamboj.

No ‘harassment’

Till then, excise payment will be based on the first sale invoice value and the CBEC (Central Board of Excise and Customs) will not challenge the valuation of a pro-duct, provided the weight of gold and carat weight of diamo-nds and precious gemstone is mentioned in the invoice, he said. Excise officials will not visit shops, residences and manufacturing units to cross-check vouchers and will not arrest or proceed with criminal prosecution against jewellers, he said.

Besides, no search and seizure of stock by excise officers will be conducted, and exporters will be allowed to make self declarations on submission of LUT (letter of undertaking), said Kamboj.

The terms of reference of the committee will include all issues related to excise, including type of records, other procedure, forms to be filed and any other issues relevant to this subject.

The government may consider other trade related issues, including ease of doing business for domestic and export trade, encouraging manufacturing businesses under the ‘Make in India’ programme, facilitating both domestic sale and export.

The committee will also look into the powers and duties of the Excise Department with regard to the jewellery business.

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