Jewellers Call off 18-Day Strike After a Loss of 18,000 Crore
Traders want a rollback of the one percent excise duty imposed on gold and diamond jewellery.
Jewellery markets across India opened on Monday as the 18-day strike was called off by the trade associations, including Indian Bullion & Jewellers Association (IBJA) and All India Gem & Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF). The strike resulted in an estimated loss of Rs 18,000 crore to the trade and a revenue loss of Rs 2,000 crore to the government. The government has assured that the jewellers will not be “harassed” by the excise department in collecting a new tax
What Was the Strike About?
The Economic Times reported that the strike was called by the traders to press for a rollback of the one percent excise duty imposed on gold and diamond jewellery in the recent Budget announcement. Jewellers were also opposed to mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above.
Most jewellery shops and establishments in the country were on strike since 2 March, after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget announced one percent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.
Trade associations had an eight-hour-long meeting with government officials in New Delhi on Saturday where BJP president Amit Shah was also an attendee.
Our demands have been accepted. The strike has been called off.Mohit Kamboj, President of IBJA.
GJF director Bachhraj Bamalwa also confirmed that the strike has been called off.
‘Task Force’ Set-Up
Even as trade associations confirmed the end of the strike, the government has not yet announced the roll-back of the one percent excise duty tax. The government has, however, decided to set up a task force led by former chief economic advisor Ashok Lahiri to overlook procedural issues.
The task force will have three industry representatives, a legal expert and officials from the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) as members.
All associations will be given the opportunity to submit representations before the panel, said an official. The official added that as a special case, payment for March will be allowed to be submitted along with that of April.
(With inputs from Reuters and PTI)
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