The jewellery traders’ agitation has reached its peak, with around 3,000 jewellers in Rajkot submitting their resignation from the BJP’s primary membership on Saturday.
Jewellers have been demanding a complete roll back of the 1 per cent excise duty imposed on non-silver jewellery since since March 2 this year. They are also demanding a roll back on the mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above.
The group of jewellers in Rajkot made it clear that the ruling party has not lived up to their expectations. Many member jewellers had already submitted their resignations before Saturday.
The protest, which has taken the shape of a movement now, has made the Saurashtra region its prime focus. BJP members of Talaja town in Bhavnagar have submitted their resignations.
Rahul Gandhi extends support
Fulfilling his promise to stand with the jewellers, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi will fly to Mumbai on Tuesday. He will visit the Deonar dumping ground as well as meet the striking jewellers. Gandhi will go to Zaveri Bazar, south Mumbai’s popular jewellery market, to extend support to bullion traders.
“Rahul Gandhi will arrive in Mumbai around 11.30 am. He would directly head to review Deonar dumping ground situation, which recently created havoc for residents living nearby due to emission of toxic gases due to fires,” Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) Chief, Sanjay Nirupam was quoted by TNN as saying.
He was further quoted as saying, “The NDA Government has been willfully trying to destroy the jewellery industry across the country and to thwart this, Rahul will express the party’s solidarity with all the players of jewellery industry by extending his wholehearted support.”
Jaitley stays firm on excise duty on jewellers
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has refused to relent on excise duty levy on non-silver jewellery goods.
On Monday, Jaitley said a “luxury item” cannot remain out of tax ambit when taxes need to be paid on many essentials.
“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 in New Delhi.
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‘ (artisans) would be affected from the new taxation.