If Centre can talk with Pakistan why not with jewellers: Shiv Sena

Shiv Sena on Wednesday threatened to hit the streets for the cause of jewellers who are on strike against a budgetary proposal to levy one per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery and wondered why the Centre cannot hold talks with them though it can do so with Pakistan.

“The government at Centre is not functioning in the right manner. If we (the Centre) can talk to Pakistan, then why we cannot talk to jewellers’ associations,” Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said.

Earlier, the Executive Committee members of the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) on Wednesday met Thackeray at Sena Bhavan here.

A large number of gold and jewellery establishments remained shuttered from March 2 as the traders continue their strike to protest against the Budget proposal to levy one per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.

He said Sena will take to streets if the party’s help is needed for the jewellers.

“If these traders need our help, then Sena will take to streets. The previous government was not up to the mark and thus we have been elected to power,” Thackeray said.

Most jewellery houses have been closed since March 2, demanding withdrawal of the proposed excise duty. The government has constituted a panel under former Chief Economic Advisor Ashok Lahri to look into the demands of jewellers.

The panel, which has been asked to submit its report in 60 days, will look into issues related to compliance procedure for the excise duty, including records to be maintained, forms to be filled, operating procedures, and other relevant issues.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget 2016-17 proposed one per cent excise duty on jewellery without input credit, or 12.5% with input tax credit, on jewellery, excluding silver other than studded with diamonds and some other precious stones.