Jewellers divided on calling off strike; Delhi shops still shut

New Delhi: A section of jewellers and bullion traders continued their strike for the 20th day here today, demanding rollback of the proposed 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery, even as major associations called off the stir after meeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Most jewellery shops and establishments in the national capital remained shut today despite Government’s assurance that there will be no harassment by excise officials.

Some jewellers kept their shops shut in Mumbai as well.

All India Sarafa Association Vice-President Surinder Kumar Jain said the strike in the national capital will go on for an indefinite period until the government rolls back the proposed excise duty.

Jewellers, bullion traders and artisans are organising ‘dharna’ at Chandni Chowk here to intensify the agitation, he added.

Meanwhile, major jewellery associations, including All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF), India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBBJ) and Gems Jewellery Export Promotion Council called off the strike on Saturday after a meeting with Jaitley.

Jewellers in various cities including Jaipur in Rajasthan also continued the strike.

Jaitley has proposed one per cent excise duty on jewellery without input credit or 12.5 per cent with input tax credit on jewellery excluding silver other than studded with diamonds and some other precious stones.