Ludhiana MP and national spokesperson for the Congress Manish Tewari on Saturday assured the protesting jewellers that he will take up their issue with the union finance minister to sort out their demand regarding the excise duty.
The jewellers have been on strike for the past 15 days against the imposition of excise duty and consumer tax on unbranded jewellery in the recent budget.
Addressing the jewellers near Fountain Chowk, Tewari said, "I suggest that rather than demanding rollback of excise and consumer tax, you should demand to keep jewellery trade out of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Both the excise and the consumer tax have been implemented by the finance minister to move country towards GST. Since jewellery trade involves a lot of labour and a large number of small jewellers, I think this trade should be kept out of GST."
Anand Sikri, president of the Ludhiana Jewellers' Association, said, "We are against excise and consumer tax and we will not accept it in any form. As far as the suggestion of the MP is concerned, we'll discuss it in our meeting. He has assured that he'll arrange our meeting with the finance minister."
Tiwari urged the jewellers to discontinue their 15-day-long strike. "We have got assurances from the MP, but we cannot discontinue our strike on the basis of these assurances. We'll also start hunger strike from Monday," Sikri added.