Millennium Post

Jaitley stays firm on excise duty on jewellers

Refusing to relent on excise duty levy on non-silver jewellery goods, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said a "luxury item" cannot remain out of tax ambit when taxes need to be paid on many essentials.

A large section of jewellers and bullion traders have been on strike for over a month seeking withdrawal of one per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery items. They are also opposing mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transactions of Rs two lakh and above.

"How can a luxury item remain out of tax when essential items like cement, cloth and many others have to pay manufacturing tax. If we do not bring GST on gold, taxation on other items will have to be increased," Jaitley said at a media interaction at the Press Club here.

He said there was no reason why luxury items should be exempted when the country was moving toward GST. Jaitley said the Centre has given a benefit that excise would be similar to VAT on gold and has tried to allay fears that 'karigars' would be affected from the new taxation. The Union Finance Minister in his Budget proposals on February 29 had announced levy of one per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.

The government had last month constituted a panel under former Chief Economic Advisor Ashok Lahiri to look into the demands of jewellers and the panel has been asked to submit its report within 60 days.
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