Demanding rollback of the government decision to impose one per cent excise duty on non-branded jewellery,the Maharashtra State Jewellers Association (MSJA) is holding a state-level agitation at Aurangabad on Friday. Around 2 lakh jewellers and 50,000 bullion traders,1,700 from the city,have been on strike since March 17 in protest against the government decision.
Fatehchand Ranka,president,MSJA,said,Imposing excise duty on non-branded jewellery is unacceptable and unjustifiable. Generally excise duty is imposed on businesses that have separate manufacturing,storing and sale units,which is not the case with most of the jewellery shops. There is a lot of documentation required for the excise imposed. We are requesting the government to hike custom duty by one per cent instead of imposing excise. This way it wont lose any tax.
Meanwhile,all jewellery shops in the city remained shut on Thursday. Traders and jewellers from Pimpri-Chinchwad area carried out a bike rally against the government decision.
The jewellers are also protesting doubling of import duty on gold from 2 to 4 per cent. A member of the association said the strike will continue till the government rolls back taxes.
The government had proposed a hike in import duty on gold bars,coins and platinum to 4 per cent from 2 per cent,after doubling the tax in January. A levy on gold ore,concentrate and so-called dore bars (a semi-pure alloy of gold and silver) for refining will be doubled to 2 per cent and excise tax on refined gold will climb to 3 per cent from 1.5 per cent.
Traders have warned that higher levies may increase gold prices by over six per cent in retail.