No breakthrough for jewellers; strike enters day 28

A large number of gold traders and jewellers continued their strike for the 28th day on Tuesday in protest against the proposed 1% excise duty on non-silver jewellery.

Most jewellery shops and establishments in the country are shut since March 2 after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced 1% excise duty on non-silver jewellery. However, most of the jewellery showrooms in Tamil Nadu were open for regular trading.
Customers would face difficulties during the fast approaching wedding season in the absence of ready stocks as the strike continues, Surinder Kumar Jain, Vice-President, All India Sarafa Association said.

Artisans related to the trade are also on strike and almost 100% of jewellery items is hand crafted by them, Jain told PTI. Jewellery sales is likely to fall by 40-50 tonnes in the January-March period due to the ongoing strike, according to ICRA.

Meanwhile, the government has constituted a panel under former Chief Economic Advisor Ashok Lahri to look into the demands of jewellers. The panel, which has been asked to submit its report in 60 days, will look into issues related to compliance procedure for the excise duty, including records to be maintained, forms to be filled, operating procedures and other relevant issues.

The government in the Budget for 2016-17 had proposed 1% excise duty on jewellery without input credit or 12.5% with input tax credit on jewellery excluding silver other than studded with diamonds and some other precious stones.