Jamshedpur, March 10: In protest against the Union government�s non-responsive attitude towards rolling back excise duty on gems and jewelry, the jewelers of Jamshedpur on Thursday launched a signature drive with their blood on a white canvas measuring 8×8 ft.
The jewelers are demanding rollback of 1 per cent excise duty on gems and jewelry and making PAN cards compulsory for transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above.
Thursday was the ninth day of the pan-India indefinite strike against the central government’s decision which was announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget on February 29.
Dinesh Adeshra, a senior functionary of Jamshedpur Jewelers� Association said gems and jewelry industry is disheartened 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.
�We were already facing challenges and businesses have gone down by 25-30 percent after the government�s decision in January to make PAN cards mandatory for any transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above.
Instead of increasing 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.
The jewelers and goldsmiths under the banner of Jamshedpur Jewelers� Association started assembling near the Bistupur traffic signal for participating in the agitation which continued for three hours.
The agitation was also supported by two associations Jamshedpur Vishwakarma Samaj and Bangabhasi Karigar Samaj and also the Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).
President of Jamshedpur Jewelers� Association, Bipin Adesra, said they collected signatures and thumb impressions of over 300 people in the trade during the three hours� drive. “The signatures attached with a petition highlighting our demands were sent to the Union finance minister Arun Jaitely.
We have also sent a separate petition expressing the concern of jewellers community and the repercussions of levying 1 percent excise duty it will have on our business, was sent to the Prime Minister, �said Adesra
Another jeweler said earlier in 2005 and 2012, the government had introduced 1 percent excise duty in gems and jewelry 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.