New Delhi, Mar 17: The Centre should not "strangulate" the country's jewellery business, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said in a letter to the Prime Minister demanding rollback of the proposal to levy one per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his capacity as the Chief Minister of Gujarat had opposed a similar move by the UPA government. There seems to be no difference between BJP and Congress in this case, he said.
"This is why people are surprised as to why you are levying the duty now which you were opposed to while in the Opposition in 2012. These jewellers are feeling cheated," Kejriwal said in the letter.
He also took a dig at Modi's pet-project 'Make in India' and asked if the government obstructs the growth of businesses operating within the country, "why will people from foreign countries come and invest?" "Government should not choke the jewellery business of the country which is famous worldwide.
It should rather encourage it. Imposing one per cent excise duty would be akin to strangulating the jewellery business," Kejriwal said. The proposal, he said, would benefit none and would only abet corruption and harassment of jewellers by excise inspectors, he said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget for 2016-17 proposed 1 per cent excise duty on jewellery without input credit, or 12.5 per cent with input tax credit, on jewellery, excluding silver other than studded with diamonds and some other precious stones.
The Finance Ministry later clarified only jewellers with turnover of more than Rs 12 crore will be liable to pay 1 per cent excise duty on non-silver jewellery items.