As the countrywide strike by jewellers entered the 12th day, the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, promised to reconsider the Budget proposal of bringing unbranded jewellery in the excise duty net, and the PAN card issue. He, however, declined to indicate the modality for the reliefs.
There is no attempt to bring back ‘inspector raj', Mr Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha, in his reply to the debate on Budget 2012-13.
Mr Mukherjee also announced a higher turnover limit of Rs 5 crore for getting the small-scale exemption benefits for excise duty purposes. Currently, this exemption is available to any manufacturer whose annual turnover in the previous year did not exceed Rs 4 crore. Full exemption from duty is available to such manufacturers for an annual turnover of Rs 1.5 crore in the current year.
For issues such as PAN card, one would have to wait for the third stage of the Budget passage when the Finance Bill proposals are debated in both Houses of Parliament, Mr Mukherjee said.
The enhanced small-scale exemption limit is likely to allay the concerns of artisans and goldsmiths who manufacture and sell jewellery themselves. The small-scale exemption benefits can be availed on the basis of a self-declaration.
Most jewellers get jewellery manufactured from small artisans and goldsmiths on a ‘job work' basis. Artisans or goldsmiths who manufacture jewellery for others need not register with the Excise Department.
To keep small artisans and goldsmiths outside the purview of the excise impost, Budget 2012-13 has provided that for small-scale exemption, the aggregate value of clearances would be computed on the basis of tariff value – 30 per cent of the transaction value.
Mr Mukherjee, however, reiterated that there will be no rollback of the import duty hike on gold. He pointed out that India imported gold worth $46 billion during April-November.
“Reduction of import duty on gold is not possible. Other aspects can be looked into,” Mr Mukherjee added.