Arvind Kejriwal asks President to help jewellers on excise duty issue

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday met President Pranab Mukherjee and asked him to intervene on the NDA government’s budget proposal to impose one per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.

During the meeting, Kejriwal had drawn the President’s attention towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “opposition” to a similar move by UPA-II Government in 2012 and reminded how Mukherjee, as the Union Finance Minister, “rolled back” the decision “understanding pain” of the jewellers then.

Lauding the jewellers’ community as “peaceful”, Kejriwal also urged Centre to frame its policies in a way that will encourage them than “strangulate their throats”.

“We told the President that our Prime Minister had (as Chief Minister of Gujarat then) opposed similar move to levy excise duty in 2012 . The President was (Union) Finance Minister then.

“The President had, understanding pain of jewellers, rolled back the decision after 21-day protests of jewellers then. So, we have requested him to intervene in the matter and co-operate with jewellers,” Kejriwal, accompanied by representatives of jewellers’ association, said.

Speaking to press persons after the meeting, Kejriwal said the jewellers were “unhappy” because the decision to levy one percent tax will lead to inspector raj, “harassing” the traders.

“We told President that jewellers are not averse to paying tax. But the new one per cent tax, will lead to inspector raj, inspectors will come and harass and jewellers will have to leave aside their works and face raids. Jewellers are unhappy over this,” he said.

Kejriwal lauded the jewellers’ community as “peaceful” and urged the Government to frame policies in a way that will encourage them than “strangulating their throats”.

“The community of jewellers is such that they work peacefully, they never come on streets. So, we can understand their pain if they are on streets for past 28 days. Our jewellers are famous internationally. So, we should frame policies in way it will encourage them than strangulate their throats,” he added.