UNION MINISTER of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Mohan Kundariya visited the camp of protesting jewellers in Rajkot on Sunday. Kundariya assured them that he will write to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking rollback of excise duty imposed in the recent Union Budget.
Kundariya visited the dharna camp of Saurashtra Suvarnkar Ladat Samiti (Saurashtra jewellers agitation committee) on Palace Road here and listened to them.
The jewellers also submitted a memorandum to Kundariya, who is also MP from Rajkot.
“A delegation of jewellers had come to Delhi and met me on Friday. I had assured them that as a representative of Rajkot Parliamentary seat, I shall listen to them personally and look into their demands. I was in the city today and visited their camp to understand their issues. The strike is hitting the hardest to craftsmen who are at the bottom of the pyramid of the jems and jewellery industry. This is a matter of concern therefore. I have assured them that I shall write to the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister requesting them to do the needful and even roll back the new tax if so warranted,” Kundariya told The Indian Express after his visit to the camp.
Meanwhile, jewellers of the country continued their indefinite strike against introduction of one per cent excise duty on jewellery, for the 13th day Sunday.
The agitators say that their strike will go on till the government rolls back the new levy.
“We are not against taxation per se. But our protest is against introduction of excise duty. Jewellery manufacturing is a very complex process and it might be very difficult to decide as to who will pay the excise. This will lead to compliance issues. We conveyed to the minister that we are ready to pay additional sum on income tax as it will be a direct tax. But excise is an indirect tax and will give birth to many complexities for jewellers,” said Haresh Soni, former president of All India Gems and Jewellery Association.