New Delhi: Chances of relief to jewellers on imposition of excise duty have increased. The strike by bullion traders and jewellers to protest the proposed increase in import duty on gold and imposition of excise duty on unbranded jewellery already entered the 14th day. The government is considering other options instead of the rollback of import duty to extend relief to jewellers.

Sources say that withdrawing import duty will be last resort for the government. The Finance Ministry officials are searching for a solution to benefit the small jewellers who makes non-branded jewellery.

After receiving suggestions from the jewellers, the officials of Finance Ministry are considering talks with trade associations. According to sources, the Finance Ministry may propose to reduce import duty on gold. However, this will not help jewellers directly. According to sources, in case the government does not find any other alternative, they may even announce the rollback of proposed imposition of excise duty on unbranded jewellery.

The continuous rise in imports of gold and rise in the sales of jewelleries in last two years has prompted the government to bring it under the ambit of tax. The Finance Minister was under pressure to come up with steps to increase the revenue collection and the 46 percent growth on the basis of cost in imports of gold in current FY has resulted in such decisions.

Even the political parties have also started showing displeasure over the issue. BJP president Nitin Gadkari has written to the Finance Minister to withdraw the proposed imposition of excise duty on unbranded jewellery. Gadkari said the concerned sector comprises 90 percent jewellers from small markets. They will be facing difficulties in maintaining records of excise duties. The BJP president also demanded to withdraw the provision of one percent cut in TDS.

(JPN/Bureau)