Jewellers back in business after strike, task force to decide on gold cess

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Bullion and gold jewellery markets across India will open from Monday as traders have called off their 18-day strike that resulted in a business loss of an estimated Rs 18,000 crore to the trade and a revenue loss of Rs 2,000 crore to the government.

Jewellers back in business after strike, task force to decide on gold cess

Traders had called the strike to press for a roll back of the 1% excise duty imposed on gold and diamond jewellery in the budget for 2016-17. The decision to call off the strike was taken by trade associations, including India Bullion & Jewellers Association (IBJA) and All India Gem & Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF), after an eight hour-long meeting with government officials in new Delhi on Saturday.

Amit Shah, president of the main governing Bharatiya Janata Party, also attended the meeting. “Our demands have been accepted. The strike has been called off,” said Mohit Kamboj, president of IBJA. GJF director Bachhraj Bamalwa also confirmed that the strike has been called off.

The government, however, has not yet announced withdrawal of the 1% excise duty, which may make gold and diamond jewellery costlier.

But it has decided to set up a task force, led by former chief economic adviser Ashok Lahiri, to sort out procedural issues. The task force will have three industry representatives, a legal expert and officials from the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) as members.

All associations will be given the opportunity to submit representations before the panel, an official said, requesting anonymity. Registration of establishments for central excise will be taken up until April end but the liability for payment of central excise will be with effect from March 1, the official said, adding that as a special case, payment for March will be allowed to be deposited along with that of April.


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