Gems and jewellery industry extends strike till March 7

Chennai/New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) The gems and jewellery industry on Friday decided to extend their strike till March 7 in protest against the central government’s decision to inpose excise duty.

In a statement the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) said the senior office bearers and representatives of many jewellery associations across the country have decided on the move.

More than three lakh jewellers including manufacturers and artisans are participating in the strike that began on March 2.

The size of the domestic industry was estimated to be around Rs. 3.15 lakh crore with the potential to grow to Rs. 5 lakh crore by 2018.

“The excise guidelines which has been drafted for the gems and jewellery industry are not practically implementable and will be detrimental to the survival of the industry.”

“We are expecting positive results from the Government, but our agitation and protest continues,” G.V.Sreedhar, chairman, GJF, was quoted as saying in a statement.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed a one percent excise duty without input credit, or 12.5 percent with input tax credit, on jewellery, excluding silver, other than studded with diamonds and some other precious stones.

The Centre earlier introduced a one percent excise duty on gems and jewellery in 2005, but dropped the cess subsequently.

Meanwhile the government asserted that the sector should be taxed and be part of the system.

“The gems and jewellery industry, with a total turnover of Rs.2-3 lakh crore, is untaxed. The government feels that this economic activity should come into the system and should be taxed,” Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) member Ram Tirath said at a post-budget interaction in New Delhi at industry chamber Ficci.

He said implementing the proposed levy has been “made as simple as possible”.

“One is not required to give any statement of stocks and there are no verifications required,” he said.

“Registrations will be granted within two working days of applying,” Tirath added.

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