The industry is unhappy with the government's proposal to re impose one per cent Excise duty in the Budget. Meanwhile, all jewellers associations in Kerala have gone on strike from today.

"We have called a meeting with all jewellers associations across the country and will take a call on going on strike," GJF Chairman Sreedhar GV told reporters here.

"The entire industry is disappointed with the government's apathy towards the gems and jewellery sector. We were already facing challenges after the government's decision in January to make PAN cards mandatory for any transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above," he said.

Even after giving representations to the Finance Minister and explaining challenges that the sector is facing, the government has not done anything to boost the industry, he rued. The industry, one of the highest employment providers, is already struggling to survive with small jewellers shutting shops and artisans losing jobs.

In 2005 and 2012, the government had introduced 1 percent Excise duty in the sector, but had to withdraw it as it was not feasible, he pointed out.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday proposed 1 percent Excise duty on jewellery without input credit or 12.5 percent with input tax credit on jewellery excluding silver other than those studded with diamonds and precious stones.

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