Apr 19, 2014, 8:53 pm (BST)
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Jewellers to meet FM today; hopeful of early resolution
Mumbai/New Delhi, Apr 6 (BSS/PTI) Protesting jewellers on Thursday said they will take a decision on their indefinite strike Friday after meeting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the issue of rollback in increased taxes.

Meanwhile, a delegation of jewellers led by RJD President Lalu Prasad met Mukherjee. The Finance Minister has assured the delegation of "positive" action soon, Prasad said after the meeting.

Jewellers in various parts of the country have been on a
strike since March 17 to protest the hike in import duty on gold
and imposition of excise duty on unbranded jewellery. The
proposal was announced during Mukherjee's Budget speech for 2012-

The strike entered into the 20th day on Thursday.

All other markets, including the BSE, the NSE and commodity
markets, also remained closed on Thursday on account of 'Mahavir

Mukherjee has called a meeting with representatives of
jewellery manufacturers from major cities in New Delhi on Friday.

Delhi Jewellers and Goldsmith Association President Ram Avtar
Verma said that jewellers will decide on whether to end the
strike or not after meeting the Finance Minister.

"We appreciate the assurance of a positive action by the
Finance Minister to the agitating bullion traders and are hopeful
of an early solution to the crisis," he added.

All-India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation Chairman
Bachhraj Bamalwa told reporters in Mumbai, "We are hoping that
the Finance Minister will understand our plight and will consider
a complete roll back of excise duty. If there is a fall out in
the talks we will continue with our agitation."

The RJD Chief said Mukherjee assured the delegation that the
matter will be discussed in the ongoing Budget session of
Parliament when it resumes after a break, and the issue will be
settled amicably.

"We want a complete roll back of excise duty and request the
Finance Minister not to suggest any alternate solutions. It is
very difficult to comply with the legalities of excise and we
fear that it will bring back Inspector Raj," Bamalwa said.

The agitation has cost the industry a revenue loss of about
Rs 20,000 crore and the government has also incurred a direct
revenue loss of Rs 700 crore from Customs Duty, he added.

Further, Bamalwa said the goods and services tax (GST) is the
only solution and the jewellers have no problem in following it.
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