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JEWELLERS IN NEW DELHI INTENSIFY STIR AGAINST HIKE IN EXCISE DUTY ON GOLD

2012-04-02, Mon, 02 Apr 2012 ANI

NATURAL WITH HINDI SPEECH

DURATION: 1.26

SOURCE: ANI

TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS: NO ACCESS BBC

Jewellers in New Delhi intensify stir against hike in excise duty on gold.

Jewellers in New Delhi intensify their protest, as they demand the rollback of government's proposal in federal budget to increase the excise duty on gold, resulting in a potential loss of five billion rupees.

SHOWS:

NEW DELHI, INDIA (APRIL 02, 2012) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (ANI-NO ACCESS BBC)

1. PROTESTORS SITTING

2. A PROTESTOR SITTING HOLDING A PLACARD

3. A BANNER READING 'ROLLBACK EXCISE DUTY'

4. PROTESTORS SITTING

5. PROTESTORS TAKING OUT A RALLY

6. PROTESTORS RAISING SLOGANS

7. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) REGIONAL HEAD OF ALL INDIA GEMS AND JEWELLERY FEDERATION, VIJAY KHANNA, SAYING:"We agree to two of the proposals made by the government in the budget. We are not protesting on the imposition of import duty and service tax but the tax imposed on the jewellery purchased above 20,0000 Indian rupees and excise duty is not acceptable and we don't want it because this is our unorganized sector and we cannot fulfil these things. Our one product is sent to seven places at times and how we will keep its account at all the seven places and we don't want the interference of this department into it."

8. A PLACARD READING 'ROLLBACK EXCISE DUTY'

9. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) REGIONAL HEAD OF ALL INDIA GEMS AND JEWELLERY FEDERATION, VIJAY KHANNA, SAYING: "We have a belief that our federal finance minister after seeing our level of protest and considering the plight of poor traders involved in this business would rollback the increased excise duty."

10. PROTEST RALLY IN PROGRESS

STORY: Jewellers in New Delhi on Monday (April 02) demonstrated outside Jantar Mantar (historical monument which is a common site for protests), as they demand the rollback of government's proposal in federal budget to increase the excise duty on gold, resulting in a potential loss of five billion rupees.

The All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (AIGFTF) have called the strike against the one percent increase in the excise duty over gold.

The jewellers are of the opinion that if the proposal of the government was implemented then the jewellery business would be adversely affected.

The federal government for the second time in 2012 doubled import tax on gold bars to four percent on value, revising the cost upwards by up to 1,040 rupees per 10 grams.

The government also intends to charge two percent on jewellery purchases more than 200,000 rupees along with an excise of a percent on non-branded jewellery. Gold imports have been blamed for the country's widening current account deficit.

"We agree to two of the proposals made by the government in the budget. We are not protesting on the imposition of import duty and service tax but the tax imposed on the jewellery purchased above 20,0000 Indian rupees and excise duty is not acceptable and we don't want it because this is our unorganized sector and we cannot fulfil these things. Our one product is sent to seven places at times and how we will keep its account at all the seven places and we don't want the interference of this department into this," said regional head of All India Gems and Jewellery Federation, Vijay Khanna.

Agitating protestors raised slogans against the Congress party-led government and threatened to intensify their movement until their demands were entertained.

Regional head of All India gems and jewellery federation, Vijay Khanna, told reporters that they had discussed the matter with India's finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

"We have a belief that our federal finance minister after seeing our level of protest and considering the plight of poor traders involved in this business would rollback the increased excise duty," added Khanna.

However, so far India's Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has refused to waive off any of the duties.

India, which does not own any substantial gold mine, imports 900 tonnes of the yellow metal annually.

Higher gold imports meant the country spent more US dollars, increasing the total import bill and widening the current account deficit.

($1=Rs. 51.22)


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