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Lalu pleads jewellers case with Finance Minister

New Delhi: RJD President Lalu Prasad today led a delegation of agitating jewellers to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee demanding roll back of excise duty on unbranded jewellery and hike in import duty on gold.

Mukherjee has assured the delegation of "positive" action soon, Prasad said after the meeting. Accompanied by former Union minister Prem Chand Gupta, along with the delegation of gold traders from Delhi and Bihar, Lalu put forward the demand for rollback of the duties.

"The jewellers who are on strike for the past 20 days are suffering huge losses…their demands for roll back of excise duty on unbranded jewellery and increasing import duty on gold from 2 per cent to 4 per cent are legitimate," Prasad told PTI.

RJD chief said the Finance Minister gave the delegation a patient hearing and assured "positive" action soon. He said Mukherjee assured the delegation that the matter will be discussed in the ongoing Budget session of Parliament when it resumes after a break, and the issue will be settled amicably.

All India Sarafa Association General Secretary Surendra Jain was also part of the delegation. Jewellers in various parts of the country have been on a strike since March 17 to protest the hike in import duty on gold and imposition of excise duty on unbranded jewellery. The proposal was announced during Mukherjee`s Budget speech for 2012-13.

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