Traders body CAIT and All India Bullion Jewellers and Swarnkar Federation (AIBJSF) on Monday said they will not withdraw their strike till the time the Government rolls back the proposal to impose 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.
The strike by a section of jewellers to protest against the proposal entered its 26th day on Monday.
Releasing a white paper on the issue, representatives of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and IBJSF urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to intervene in the matter to resolve the issue.
“We have been on strike for last 26 days and will continue to do so for indefinite period till the time government rolls back its decision,” All India Bullion Jeweller & Swarnkar Federation President Praveen Goel told reporters in New Delhi.
He said that the worst affected with this proposal are daily wage artisans.
Meanwhile, Jaitley has offered to walk the extra mile to ensure that small traders are not harassed but made it plain that luxury items cannot go untaxed.
“A luxury item must pay its share of taxes. So on procedural harassment, if they have any suggestions, I am willing to accept for simplification so that there is no harassment… I am willing to take an extra step. But indefinitely India can not have a situation where luxury items go untaxed,” Jaitley was quoted by PTI as saying.
CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal was also quoted by PTI as saying that the Government should at least put its decision on abeyance till the issue get resolved.
PTI said Khandelwal added that the committee – which was formed by the Government on the issue – should have equal participation from the traders.
“The Government should take traders into confidence and open the door for discussion on the matter. Traders are not running from paying taxes. The profit of traders are very low and one per cent levy is very high,” he was quoted by PTI as saying.
Refuting the allegation of black money generation in the jewellery trade, he said trader is not the source of black money.
Although AIBJSF is continuing with the strike, three major associations – GJF, ABJA and GJEPC – called off the stir on March 19 after the Government’s assurance that there would be no ‘Inspector Raj’.
The Government has constituted a panel under former Chief Economic Advisor Ashok Lahri to look into the demands of jewellers.