Shiv Sena demands jewellery excise duty rollback

New Delhi: NDA ally Shiv Sena today demanded rollback of the one per cent excise duty imposed on jewellery, saying the government should shed its “ego” and decide on it as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself opposed levying it in the past.

“I do not understand the logic behind imposing excise duty on jewellery. Once GST comes in, central excise will get abolished then what is the necessity of imposing it now…

Government should intropect it, it should be rolled back,” Shiv Sena member Arvind Sawant said.

Participating in the discussion on the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha, Sawant said the levy was imposed even earlier in 2005, 2012 and was withdrawn following protest.

“We were the people who opposed it, including the present Prime Minister… It should be rolled back… just like the EPFO decision. There is no ego issue,” he said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had in the latest budget imposed one per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery which led to widespread protests by jewellers.

The jewellers are liable to pay excise duty with effect from March 1, 2016. The government has, meanwhile, set up a committee under former Chief Economic Advisor Ashok Lahiri to look into demand of agitating jewellers and also into their grievances with regard to compliance and operating procedures for payment of excise duty.

Sawant said the government listened to the demands of organised sector employees and rolled back the EPF decision, but was “ignoring” the jewellers.

Last week, the government had rolled back the decision of offering lower 8.7 per cent interest rate on employee provident fund (EPF) contributions for 2015-16, by offering 8.8 per cent rate.

Raising the issue of jewellers strike, Saugata Roy (TMC) said the government cannot run the economy with “rigidity”.