Jewellers call off strike, seek alternate tax

Gold traders and jewellers, whose pan-India strike continued for the 17th day on Friday, said they would not call off their indefinite strike till the government rolls back one per cent excise duty, but expressed willingness to pay tax in some other form.

“We will continue this strike indefinitely as we have no other recourse. If we open our shops, we have to comply with the excise tax, which we will bring back inspector raj and 90 per cent of the industry will be affected,” All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) Director Ashok Minawala told reporters here.

He said, the industry is not tax shy as they pay huge duty of around Rs 30,000 crore every year.

“We are ready to pay the tax, which the government wants to generate through the excise, in some other alternate format,” he added.

He said, the intention of Finance Minister may be good, but it (excise duty imposition) is not notified, and also the procedure to amend the Excise Act accordingly is not initiated. Therefore, the excise field officers will have the liberty to visit shops, with powers to seize goods and arrest.

“In the era of ease doing business, these controls need to be done away with. Hence, the assurance of the Finance Minister is not acceptable by the industry,” he said.


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