Jewellers across the country decided to call off their strike on Saturday, 18 days after beginning to demand that the government roll-back the proposed excise duty on non-silver jewellery. Major jewellery associations decided to call off the strike after meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to discuss the 1% excise duty on jewellery proposed in the budget, PTI reported. The decision followed assurance from the finance ministry that the jewellers will not face any harassment from excise officials.
All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation Chairman Sreedhar GV said that even though the proposal to charge excise duty had not been revoked, their grievances had been addressed. “The finance minister has assured us that there will be no ‘inspector raj’, and we are hopeful of getting a notification in this regard,” he said.More than three lakh jewellers from 300-plus associations across the country kept their establishments closed since March 2, after Jaitley announced the imposition of 1% excise duty on non-silver jewellery in the 2016-17 budget. The gems and jewellery industry incurred an estimated loss of more than Rs 25,000 crore in the past 18 days. The industry contributes 3.5% to the country's GDP.