Rahul Backs Jewellers, Says Govt Strangulating Small Business

Jewellers have been on an indefinite strike demanding a rollback of 1 percent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.

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Rahul Gandhi addresses the jewellers who are on an indefinite strike. (Photo: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/OfficeOfRG/status/717631311943315456">@OfficeOfRG</a>)

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, on Wednesday, has dubbed the one percent excise duty on non-silver jewellery items as an “assassination attempt” on traders by the BJP government. He alleged that the step was taken by the government to benefit big industrialists.

Gandhi, who was addressing a rally of the All India Bullion Jeweller and Swarnakar Federation at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, once again ridiculed the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Making a reference to the initiative’s logo, Gandhi said it was a “babbar sher” that wants to “strangulate” small businesses.

This is not an excise duty on you (jewellers and traders). This is an assassination attempt on you. You are being killed. But why are you being killed? Who will benefit from this? First and foremost big industrialists will benefit and secondly, those people will gain who will extract money from your profit through pressure and blackmail.
Rahul Gandhi, Vice President, Congress

Jewellers, bullion traders and artisans in several parts of the country continued their indefinite strike demanding the rollback of one percent excise duty on non-silver jewellery. They have been on strike since 2 March to protest the proposal.

Most jewellery shops in the country, including in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai wore a deserted look for the 36th day. However, jewellery showrooms in Tamil Nadu were open for regular trading.

The Centre has already constituted a panel under former chief economic advisor Ashok Lahiri to look into the demands of jewellers.

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