Gems and jewellery exporters urged the Centre to withdraw the proposed 1 percent excise duty on non-silver jewellery, adding that they do not want to join the ongoing strike by bullion traders and retailers. Members of over 358 associations related to jewellery trade and related businesses are on strike since March 2 to demand withdrawal of the proposed 1 percent excise duty announced in the Union Budget. “Though we morally support the stand taken by All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) and other industry associations, we don’t want to go on a strike as a protest against this announcement as we believe in engaging with the Government to persuade them to repeal the same (duty),” Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya said in a release here. GJEPC has approached the government to initiate meetings with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and officials of Finance and Commerce Ministries to persuade them to rollback the decision, Pandya said. “For 30 to 40 years, there was no excise on jewellery due to the small scale nature of manufacturing, sale of goods and the unique way in which the industry does its business. “Also, the industry imports all its gold from outside after paying customs duty. Hence, the Council is of the opinion that it needs to be withdrawn forthwith,” he added. More than 358 associations affiliated with GJF, consisting of over three lakh manufacturers, retailers and artisans, among others, are on strike since March 2 to oppose the move. The Finance Ministry has clarified that only jewellers with turnover of more than Rs 12 crore will be liable to pay 1 percent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.