Jewellers call off 21-day strike after Pranab’s assurance

FM has assured that govt would reconsider proposal to impose excise duty on unbranded jewellery.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published: April 6, 2012 12:59:21 pm

Agitating jewellers called off their 21-day agitation today following a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and an assurance by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee that the government would reconsider the proposal to impose excise duty on unbranded jewellery.

Earlier,chairman of the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation Bachhraj Bamalwa told reporters: “We will decide on calling off strike in two hours. Industry lost nearly Rs 20,000 crore due to this strike and the government lost nearly Rs 1,200 crore (in revenue).”

Mukherjee,according to Chairman of the Central Board of Excise and Custom (CBEC) S K Goel,has assured jewellers that the Minister would address their concerns at the time of consideration of the Finance Bill 2012 in Parliament and “associations have agreed to withdraw the strike”.

The jewellers,who were on strike since March 17,also met Gandhi earlier in the day to press for their demand of withdrawal of excise duty and reduction of customs duty.

“We today met Sonia Gandhi and requested her to tell the government to roll back excise duty on unbranded jewellery,reduce customs duty and lower TCS (tax collection at source) on sale of jewellery,” All India Swarankar Sangh President Madhukar Chachad said.

The Congress party,meanwhile,has also asked the government to “sympathetically” look into the demands of jewellers.

“Congress has asked the government to consider the demand of jewellers sympathetically,” AICC general secretary and media department chief Janardhan Dwivedi said.

Bullion traders and jewellers are protesting since the presentation of the Budget which had imposed excise duty on unbranded jewellery,raised customs duty on gold and proposed TDS requirement on sale of jewellery.

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