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City jewelers go on three-day strike to protest excise duty

Jamshedpur, March 02: Jewelers across the city went on a three-day strike from Wednesday to protest the proposed re-imposition of 1 percent excise duty and the mandatory PAN cards for any transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above.

All the shops and showrooms remained closed. Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce also led its support and joined hands with jewelers.

Dinesh Adeshra, a senior functionary of Jamshedpur Jewelers’ Association, said gems and jewellery industry is disappointed with the government’s apathy towards the sector with the proposal of re-imposition of 1 percent excise duty in the Budget 2016-17, presented on Monday by the Union finance minister Arun Jaitley.

“We were already facing challenges and businesses have gone down by 25-30 percent following 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 percent excise duty,” he rued.

Another jeweler said that earlier, in 2005 and 2012, the government had introduced 1 percent 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.

Jaitley on Monday proposed 1 percent excise duty on jewellery 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.

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