NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reiterated that no small jeweller has to pay one per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery, only those with turnover of more than Rs 6 crore in two consecutive years would be liable to pay the excise.
“There will be no roll back of the 1% excise tax on jewellery,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in Parliament on Thursday.
Replying to a calling attention motion on the issue of imposition of central excise duty on gold jewellery by the government, the Finance Minister stressed that luxury items cannot be kept out of tax ambit for perpetuity, prompting a walk-out by members of the Congress and SP.
Defending the rationale to tax luxury items, he said, “…when there is excise duty on items like soap, toothpaste, razor, pencil, ink, fruit juices and baby food, why should the luxury items be exempted from it.” Luxury items will have to be taxed because essential items cannot be taxed more to compensate for the loss in tax, Jaitley added.
“Clearances up to Rs 6 crore in a financial year (if clearances during preceding year were less than Rs 12 crore), are exempt from this duty,” Jaitley said, adding “thus small jewellers and artisans are not covered within the ambit of this levy.”
Opposition members had earlier charged the government of killing the traditional jewellery trade and promoting the big brands by imposing the levy.
The jewellers have been on a nationwide strike for over 40 days to protest the levy.
The Finance Minister challenged the opposition that if they were so concerned about it, they should get the 5 per cent value added tax removed in Kerala.