Gold traders, jewellers and artisans have been observing strike across the country since March 2, demanding rollback of the budgetary proposal that has impacted the trade.

Jewellers' associations in different parts of the country have intensified their strike by staging 'dharnas' in major as well as small towns, said Surinder Kumar Jain, Vice-President, All India Sarafa Association.

Almora in Uttarakhand observed complete 'bandh' today in support of jewellers.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal yesterday addressed a gathering of jewellers, gold traders and artisans who staged a dharna at Jantar Mantar here.

The excise duty was imposed without consulting traders. It will only lead to inspector raj and spike in corruption. The cost of collection would be much more than what the government hopes to earn, Kejriwal said.

The Centre has already constituted a panel under former chief economic advisor Ashok Lahiri to look into the demands of jewellers.

The sub-committee, which has been asked to submit its report in 60 days, will look into issues related to the compliance procedure for the excise duty, including records to be maintained, forms to be filled, operating procedures and other relevant aspects.

The government, in the Budget for 2016-17, had proposed one per cent 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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