India’s jewellery sector is estimated to have incurred a revenue loss of over Rs. 60,000 crore due to an ongoing indefinite strike that entered the ninth day on Wednesday, according to an industry body.
Members of over 358 associations related to jewellery trade and related businesses are on strike since March 2 to demand withdrawal of the excise duty announced in the Budget. Jewellers are also opposed to mandatory quoting of PAN by customers for transactions of Rs. 2 lakh and above.
“Every day the gems and jewellery sector is witnessing overRs. 7,000-crore loss across the country and till now the total revenue loss is over Rs. 60,000 crore.”
“Even as we are incurring losses, we will continue the strike till the Government withdraws the proposal to impose 1 per cent excise duty, which will bring in inspector raj,” All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) chairman Sreedhar G V told PTI here.
Over 300 associations, which consist of over 3 lakh manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and artisans, among others, are participating in the nationwide stir spearheaded by GJF. As an alternative to the excise duty, the jewellers have said the Centre can hike the customs duty by 1-2 per cent.
“The gems and jewellery industry, which mostly consists of people who are not very educated people, will have to appoint people to deal with the cumbersome process of filing and maintaining records needed for filing excise duty.”
“As an alternative we will not mind if the Government increases the customs duty by 1-2 per cent,” Mumbai Jewellers Association vice president Kumar Jain said.
In 2005 and 2012 too, the Centre had introduced a 1 per cent excise duty in the gems and jewellery sector, but had to drop the move following opposition.
Presenting the Budget on February 29, Finance Ministry Arun Jaitley proposed 1 per cent excise duty on jewellery without input credit, or 12.5 per cent with input tax credit, on jewellery excluding silver other than studded with diamonds and some other precious stones.
The Finance Ministry has clarified that jewellers only with turnover of more than Rs. 12 crore will be liable to pay 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery items.
Meanwhile, India Bullion and jewellers Association (IBJA), along with Mumbai Wholesale Gold Jewellers Association, on Wednesday organised a rally in the city to press for their demand to roll back the excise duty. Around 25,000 people associated with the industry took part in the rally.