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Lalu Yadav says Pranab Mukherjee has assured that jewellers interest would be protected

Patna , Sat, 07 Apr 2012 ANI

Patna, Apr.7 (ANI): Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president and former Bihar chief minister Lalu adav on Saturday told media here that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has assured him hat the interests of jewellers vis-a-viz the levelling of increased excise duty would be protected.

Last month, Mukherjee had said he would consider jewellers' demands to roll back the excise uty and provide an "acceptable" solution, but added that he would not reduce the import duty n gold and platinum.

Yadav said: "The Finance Minister has given an assurance not only to me, but to the members f the whole association, to work without being scared, and there will be no police rule, and obody will incur a loss. We had demanded a rollback of the excise duty. The people will suffer ue to police rule that will come into force in the name of excise duty," he said.

"On our demand, the finance minister said that he would make an announcement in parliament. he government will not benefit from the imposition of excise duty and on the contrary with the mposition of such duty, the business of the jewellers will suffer, and it will lead to police rule, nd nothing will go in government's pocket," Yadav said.

Despite the assurance given by Mukherjee, the final decision would be taken only May 7, when he budget session of parliament reconvenes to pass the Finance Bill for fiscal 2012-13.

Meanwhile, jewellers staged a protest outside the finance ministry in New Delhi as they shouted logans and demanded rollback of the tax on Friday.

Jewellers, who extended their strike for the 19th day on Wednesday, have been protesting gainst the excise levy on unbranded jewellery of 0.3 percent, and a tax collected at source on ransactions worth more than 200,000 rupees.

The annual budget also doubled import duty on gold to four percent.

The duties could dent India's gold imports by a third to 655 tonnes in 2012, allowing China to vertake it as the biggest gold importer. (ANI)

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