India’s Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, has convened a meeting with representatives of the jewelry manufacturing sector to take place on Friday in New Delhi. The minister called the meeting to better understand the industry’s concerns regarding the proposed imposition of a 1 percent excise duty on unbranded jewelry.
“Several representations have been received in the Ministry of Finance on behalf of the manufacturers of jewelry including artisans and goldsmiths, seeking reconsideration of this proposal on the ground that the industry is unorganized and fragmented and would find it difficult to comply with the provisions of Central Excise Law,” the finance ministry said in a statement.
Various jewelry associations have been requested to nominate two representatives each for the meeting, it added.
Jewelry retailers across India have been on strike since March 17 to oppose the tax proposal announced for the gems and jewelry industry in the Union Budget 2012-2013.
In his budget speech on March 16, Mukherjee proposed to impose a 1 percent excise duty on unbranded jewelry and to increase the excise duty on refined gold from 1.5 percent to 3 percent. He also proposed to double the customs duty on gold to 4 percent, among other measures.