Jewellers call for indefinite stir over tax hike

Mumbai: Protesting against the Budget proposals to bring unbranded precious jewellery under the excise duty net and raise customs duty on gold bars and coins, the All-India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation has decided to go on an indefinite strike from today.

"Raising the duty further to 4 per cent will encourage smuggling even more," " the federation Chairman Bachhraj Bamalwa told PTI.

The Union Budget for 2012-13 has proposed excise duty of 1 per cent on unbranded precious jewellery and doubling customs duty on standard gold bars, gold coins and platinum to 4 per cent.

"We have decided to go on an indefinite strike from today to protest against the 1 per cent excise duty. This industry is not organised and involves thousands of small jewellers for whom it will be difficult to comply with the provision, Bamalwa said.

The federation has over three lakh jewellers as its members spread across the country. "We demand that the Government roll back the excise duty imposition," he said.

Talking about the increase in customs duty for the sector, he said after the duty was raised to 2 per cent recently, some incidents of smuggling were reported.

The bullion industry, already struggling due to high gold prices, will be hit further as this measure will lead to rise in prices of the precious metal, he added.