Gold Jewellers’ Lobby Wants Excise Levy Hike Rolled Back

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SEEKING COVER Rollback sought by body to protect trade from potential `inspector raj’ whose scrutiny can lead to harassment
Traders call for a nation wide strike to protest the new levy imposed in Budget Rattled by the government’s proposal to impose a 1% excise levy on gold and studded silver jewellery, the traders’ foremost body India Bullion & Jewellers Association (IBJA) says it will meet with finance minister Arun Jaitley and other officials on Wednesday to seek a rollback of the same.
A rollback is being sought to protect the trade from what’s being dubbed by IBJA as a potential “inspector raj“ whose scrutiny would cause “undue harass ment“ to unorganised players.IBJA, with over 50,000 jewellers and bullion traders as members, has already called for a nationwide strike to protest the new levy effective Tuesday till further notice. Jewellers with turnover below Rs. 6 crore are exempt from the new levy. However, aware of the government’s keenness to discourage investments into physical gold, the trade body will suggest, among others, that it could raise import duty by another percentage point to 11%. “This will enable it to raise revenue while obviating harassment for the trade,“ said Ketan Shroff, joint secretary, IBJA, who confirmed news of the meeting.
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