To protest against the imposition of 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery, the jewellers have decided to organise a mega rally. They are demanding the rollback of the excise tax and emphasised that the Government had refused to acknowledge the difficulties faced by the community.
On Tuesday, The Central Board of Excise and Customs has sent out a strong message that there will be no raids and authorities will also not seek any declaration of stock held before the Budget. The Government has also allowed the jewellers to file quarterly returns and pay excise duty electronically every month through a voluntary disclosure of stocks. However, the jewellers are still adamant about their demands.
The bandh has resulted in losses of up to Rs 20,000 crore for goldsmiths, artisans and jewellers.
“The government continues to believe that excise is the only alternative for the gem and jewellery sector, so that it can migrate to GST (goods and services tax) smoothly,” the statement said.
Jewellers went on strike after the levy was announced in the Budget 2016. Finance minister Arun Jaitley had on Monday made it clear that the levy was a precursor to the goods and service tax (GST), rejecting demands for a roll back. He had proposed the excise duty on jewellers having a turnover of over Rs 12 crore, thereby keeping small manufacturers and job workers out of the tax net. Many states already tax the sector.
Delhi, Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Gujarat levy 1 per cent value added tax on gold jewellery while it’s 5 per cent in Kerala.
Jaitley said clear instructions had been issued to field officers that no inspector will enter the premises of jewellery makers because there is a provision of self-certification.
Just like gold merchants, cloth traders and textile merchants in Vijaywada and Gantur have decided to join the strike against the proposed 2 per cent excise duty on readymade garments. They demanded the Centre to withdraw the excise duty and continue the optional duty regime. The merchants and traders also said that a rally will be held on the occasion from Lenin Centre to sub-collector’s office via Besant Road.