Jewellers, bullion traders, artisans adamant; Govt too refuses to blink
Jewellers, bullion traders and artisans are showing no signs of backing down in their protest against imposition of 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery as their strike entered 39th day on Saturday with many keeping their shops closed. Many jewellery showrooms in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata are closed since March 2 after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery in the Budget on February 29. Tamil Nadu, however, struck a contrarian note, where most jewellery showrooms are open for regular trading. To address jewellers issues, the government has constituted a panel under former chief economic advisor Ashok Lahiri to look into the set of demand of jewellers. The sub-committee will look into issues related to the compliance procedure for the excise duty, including records to be maintained, forms to be filled, operating procedures and other relevant aspects. The government, in the Budget for 2016-17, had proposed 1 per cent excise duty on jewellery without input credit or 12.5 per cent with input tax credit on jewellery excluding silver other than those studded with diamonds and precious stones.