Jewellers go on strike against excise duty

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 01, 2016

A day after the Budget, jewellers across the country have gone on an indefinite strike to protest against levy of excise duty and requested the Centre to increase the customs duty by one per cent instead of thrusting excise duty on it.

Meanwhile, the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) announced its members including manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers will go on a three-day strike against excise duty.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget, levied an excise duty of one per cent on gold and diamond jewellery, if a jeweller does not avail input tax credit, or 12.5 per cent with input tax credit.

Ketan Shroff, Spokesperson, Indian Bullion Jewellers Association, said the industry is not against paying duty to the government but it should be collected without unsettling the business.

“It is better for the government to hike customs duty by one per cent and collect the tax when the gold is imported into the country than setting excise department officials against the industry,” he told BusinessLine.

Most of the jewellers, he said, are small entities that cannot afford to maintain records to fulfil the needs of excise department.

Asked on the financial loss to jewellers due to the indefinite strike, Shroff said it is better to deal with the issue and make the industry stand clear than worrying about the loss.

GV Sreedhar, Chairman, GJF, said the industry is compelled to take this decision as the excise duty will create huge liability on small manufacturers, who mostly employ unskilled casual workers.

Ashok Minawala, past Chairman, GJF, said on an average the industry would lose business worth ₹5,000 crore, while the government will incur a revenue loss of ₹500 crore.

Jewellery retailers are already up in arms against the government mandate to collect PAN details of customers who are purchasing jewellery worth above ₹2 lakh.

Prithviraj Kothari, Managing Director, Riddhi Siddhi Bullions, said bullion dealers and jewellery manufacturers have made several representations to the government for cut in import duty from the existing 10 per cent to two per cent to provide a fillip to the domestic jewellery sector.

On the contrary, an excise of one per cent has been levied which will prove to be major setback for the organised players in the bullion industry, he said.

Published on March 01, 2016
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