Jewellers across the country have decided to go on a three-day strike from Wednesday to protest the proposed re-imposition of 1 per cent excise duty and mandatory PAN cards for any transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above, an industry grouping on Tuesday said.
“We had a meeting with our members as well as with other associations under our network. We have collectively decided to go on 3-day strike from Wednesday. More than 300 associations, including manufacturers, retainers, artisans among others across the country will participate in the stir,” All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) Chairman Sreedhar G V told PTI here.
Meanwhile, all jewellers associations and retailers in Kerala and Rajkot (Gujarat) went on strike from Tuesday.
Mr. Sreedhar said gems and jewellery industry is disappointed with the government’s apathy towards the sector with the proposal of re-imposition of 1 per cent Excise Duty in the Budget 2016—17, presented on Monday by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
“We were already facing challenges and businesses have gone down by 25—30 per cent after the government’s decision in January to make PAN cards mandatory for any transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above. Instead of increase the slab to Rs 10 lakh from the current Rs 2 lakh, the government has created more difficulties by the proposal to re-introduce 1 per cent Excise Duty,” he rued.
He said, earlier, in 2005 and 2012, the government had introduced 1 per cent Excise duty in gems and jewellery sector but had to withdraw it as it was not practical with the industry comprising mostly under—educated but highly skilled people who are not equipped to handle the paper work required in it.
GJF, he said, is also planning to send a delegation soon with a representation to the Finance Ministry to explain the difficulties faced by the industry with these measures.
Mr. Jaitley on Monday proposed 1 per cent Excise duty on jewellery without input credit or 12.5 per cent with input tax credit on jewellery excluding silver other than studded with diamonds and some other precious stones.
Mr. Sreedhar said jewellers will take a call on future course of action after their meeting with Finance Ministry officials.