Arun Jaitley's assurance of no 'inspector raj' ends 18-day jewellers strike

Arun Jaitley
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Jewellers on Saturday called off their 18-day old strike demanding roll-back of proposed excise duty on non-silver jewellery after the government assured them that there will be no harassment by excise officials.

Jewellers on Saturday called off their 18-day old strike demanding roll-back of proposed excise duty on non-silver jewellery after the government assured them that there will be no harassment by excise officials.

Major jewellery associations, including All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF), India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBBJ) and Gems Jewellery Export Promotion Council decided to call off the strike after meeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley regarding the 1per cent excise duty proposed on jewellery in the budget.

"It (excise duty) has not been rolled back but our grievances have been taken care of. The

Finance Minister has assured us that there will be no 'inspector raj' and we are hopeful of getting a notification in this regard. After long deliberations, all associations agreed to call off the stir," GJF Chairman Sreedhar G V told PTI.

However, the Finance Ministry on Friday said artisans and job workers will not have to pay this levy. The gems and jewellery industry is estimated to have incurred over Rs 25,000 crore loss during the last 18 days.

Over 3 lakh jewellers from more than 300 associations kept their establishments closed across the country since March 2 after the Finance Minister in the budget for 2016-17 announced 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.

Jewellers are also opposed to mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above.

The size of the gems and jewellery industry has grown to Rs 3.15 lakh crore and contributes 3.5 per cent to the GDP even as it is still an unorganised sector which employs 4.5 million skilled workers.

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