City jewellers on Wednesday went on a three-day strike to protest against the excise duty on gold jewellery that has been proposed in the Union budget. They are demanding a rollback of 1% excise duty on gold ornaments.
Nearly 200 Noida-based jewellers have joined the protest. Other traders in the city have also expressed solidarity with the jewellers.
“The Centre has levied 1% excise duty on jewellery. This will damage our business. We immediately demand a rollback,” said Rajender Verma, president, Noida jewellers association, adding that the protest may continue even after Friday.
“The government has given power to the excise inspector to seal shops if they find any fault on the part of the jewellers. Excise inspectors are likely to misuse power. We are already under pressure for sales tax, income tax, commercial tax, value added tax, and now excise duty,” said SK Jain, district president, Uttar Pradesh Vyapar Mandal, adding that the market has extended support to the jewellers.
Ramchandra Yadav, a senior official in the sales tax department of Noida said, “We cannot comment. This is a policy decision of the Central government,” said Yadav.
On February 10, the traders had called for a strike against the government’s decision to make PAN cards mandatory for those who buy jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh and above in a year.
“This is a nationwide strike. We decided to join the strike under the umbrella body of Uttar Pradesh Udyog Vyapar Mandal, following a call by the all India jewellers association,” said Jain, adding that the decision will cause irreparable damage to their business.
Jewellers are unhappy with the Centre, which has not agreed to meet their previous demand that the limit on PAN card sales be increased to Rs 10 lakh from Rs 2 lakh.