Jewellers’ strike caused Rs.70,000 crore loss: Association

Mumbai, March 20 (IANS) The 18-day strike by jewellers that ended on Saturday night is estimated to have caused losses of Rs.60,000-70,000 crore, an industry organisation said.

The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) said in a statement said here that the strike has caused “losses of Rs. 60,000-70,000 crore” to the industry.

The jewellers’ strike ended on Saturday night following a meeting between the associations and union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi regarding the 1 percent excise duty proposed on jewellery in the Union Budget 2016-17.

A three-member committee, headed by former chief economic adviser to the finance ministry, Ashok Lahiri, has been constituted to look into issues related to excise duty on jewellery and find a solution.

It would submit its report to the government within 60 days, the GJEPC said in a release on Sunday.

At a meeting of various jewellers’ associations with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah, Power Minister Piyush Goyal and others in New Delhi, it was decided that the committee would hold discussions with the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and other stake-holders to evolve an amicable solution to the issue of excise duty.

Over 300,000 jewellery shops owing allegiance to more than 300 associations across India went on strike since the excise duty announcement on February 29.

They have also been opposing the government rule making permanent account number (PAN) card as a mandatory proof on purchases of Rs.2 lakh and above.

The size of the gems and jewellery industry, that is still an unorganised sector, is estimated to be in the range of between Rs.2.5-3 lakh crore.

The government move was prompted by the aim to bring the growing sector into the mainstream of economic activity by levying a tax.

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