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Jewellers To Continue Strike; Minister Says Will Look Into Demands

More than 300 associations comprising over three lakh manufacturers, retailers and artisans are on a strike

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Jewellers decided to continue their strike till March 7 against the proposal to impose 1 per cent excise duty despite the government's assurance that it will look into the issue and clarification on the applicability of the levy.

Jewellers have been on a strike since March 2 protesting against the proposed excise duty imposition on non-silver jewellery items made in the Budget 2016-17 as well mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transaction of Rs 2 lakh and above.

Representatives of All India Gems and Jewellery Federation (GJF) on Friday met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to press for their demands.

After the meeting, GJF said the Finance Minister has assured that he will look into their grievances but still the Federation decided to extend the protest till March 7.

More than 300 associations comprising over three lakh manufacturers, retailers and artisans among others are on a strike. However, big retailer like Tanishq did not take part in the strike, GJF Chairman Sreedhar G V told PTI said.

"We have met the Finance Minister in New Delhi and gave him our representation. We told him about difficulties the industry is facing due to certain government policies. He gave us a patient hearing and has assured us to look into the matter," Sreedhar said.

He further said that Jaitley expressed concern and asked for alternatives to the excise duty.

Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry later in the day came out with the clarification that jewellers with turnover of more than Rs 12 crore will be liable to pay 1 per cent excise on non-silver jewellery items.

Last evening, the GJF delegation had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and gave him their representation. "The PM gave us his valuable time and heard about our plight," he added.

GJF along with All India Jewellery Associations has decided to extend the strike till March 7.

The industry is estimated to have incurred a loss of Rs 21,000 crore during the three-day strike, which includes bullion, diamond and jewellery.

Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has urged the government to roll back the excise duty on gold and diamond jewellery.

Its Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said the levy of excise will prove to be counter productive and will badly hit the trade on one side and will also cause revenue loss to the government.

The size of gems and jewellery industry is estimated at around Rs 3.15 lakh crore with the potential to grow to Rs 5 lakh crore by 2018.

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gold jewellery Budget 2016-17 arun jaitley