Jewellers up in arms against excise duty

The three-day protest by the city jewellers, which began in the city yesterday, will end tomorrow. They are up in arms against the proposed imposition of excise duty jewellers.

The Jewellery Associations across India announced that jewellers including manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers have closed their business to protest against the government’s proposal to impose one per cent excise duty in jewellery sector.

T A Harshanandana, Secretary, Shroff Varthakara Sangha, said, “We have been observing a three-day ‘bandh’ to protest against the excise duty which is damaging the growth of the industry The proposed excise duty of 1% without input credit or 1 2.5% excise with input credit will create huge liabilities for small manufacturers who employ unskilled day-to-day labour at large, the very people the government wishes to exempt. The government needs to understand that they are putting the lives of six crore people attached to the industry in jeopardy.”

President of the sangha, Amarnath said, “The government has totally ignored the industry which is forcing us to go on three-day token strike. Our association members have decided to join the strike expressing their anguish over the government apathy towards the industry which had earlier declared it as a thrust area for job creation. Such policies will hamper the growth of the industry.”

In the Union Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed duty of 1% without input as credit or 12.5% with input tax credit’ on articles of jewellery (excluding silver jewellery, other than studded with diamonds and some other precious stones), with a higher exemption and eligibility limits of Rs 6 crore and Rs 12 crore respectively.

In 2005 and 2012, the government had introduced excise duty on gems and jewellery industry which was withdrawn quickly after realising the impracticality of the rule. In 2012, the industry had observed a nationwide 23-day protest when present party at the Centre had supported the jewellers’ cause.

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