Following an 18-day long strike by jewellers demanding rollback of excise duty on non-silver jewellery, the Ministry of Finance has formed a sub-committee to prepare a report on the issue after interacting with industry representatives. In the Union Budget 2016-17, the excise duty at the rate of 1 per cent (without input tax credit) and 12.5 per cent (with input tax credit) had been imposed on all articles of jewellery, except for silver jewellery, other than those studded with diamond, ruby, emerald or sapphire.
The sub-committee, headed by Ashok Lahiri, will comprise three industry representatives, one legal expert, one official from Ministry of Commerce and Industry along with some high-level officials from the Central Excise Department. In a statement issued on Monday, the finance ministry said that the sub-committee will submit its report within 60 days of its formation. “All associations will be given an opportunity to submit representation before the Sub-Committee in writing and the all India associations to state their case in person,” the finance ministry said. Terms of reference of the sub-committee will include issues related to compliance procedure for the excise duty, including records to be maintained, forms to be filled, operating procedures and any other issued that may be relevant. The government also said that till the recommendations of the panel are finalised, the central excise officers will not visit any manufacturing units or place of business of jewellers, and no arrest or criminal prosecution of jewellers will be done.