New Delhi: India’s Finance Minster Mr. Arun Jaitely stood firm on the government’s plan to impose 1% excise duty on non-silver jewellery, saying the measure was aimed at linking gold with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which he hoped would be rolled out soon.
Replying to the debate on the Budget in Lok Sabha, the FM made it clear that the duty was not applicable on small traders and the government would ensure that tax officials did not harass jewellers.
Several lawmakers, allies and the opposition had mounted pressure on Jaitley to roll back the duty. Jewellers across the country had downed shutters for several days demanding a rollback.
“The day we get your (Congress) blessing, GST will be implemented. Then all goods will come under GST and it is natural that gold will also be included. This (1% excise duty proposal) is a preparation towards it,” Jaitley told Lok Sabha. “Nobody will be harassed,” he said.
He said clear instructions had been issued to field officers that no inspector will enter the premises of jewellery makers because there is provision of self-certification.
The 1% levy on non-silver articles would be imposed on jewellers with Rs 12 crore turnover in the previous year and in coming years whose turnover would be Rs 6 crore or more. “This will be applicable only on principal traders and not manufacturers. There are clear instructions,” said Jaitley.
Several lawmakers who participated in the debate demanded a rollback of the duty saying small jewellers would be hurt. NDA ally Shiv Sena also demanded that the levy be rolled back. Jaitley in his 2016-17 budget imposed an excise duty of 1% (without input tax credit, and 12.5% with input tax credit) on jewellery.
Earlier this month, the finance ministry had clarified that if the turnover of a jeweller during the preceding financial year was more than Rs 12 crore, he would be liable to pay the excise duty.