1) Relenting in the face of strong demand from a large number of Members, Finance M inister Pranab Mukherjee today announced

that he would consider the rollback of one per cent excise duty on gold jewellery. Replying to the discussion on the Budget for 2012-13 in the Lok Sabha, Mukherjee said he had no intention of harassing small gold jewellery manufacturer, pointi ng out that after all the small traders were paying VAT imposed by their respect ive states. He, however, said he was ready to consider the demand for withdrawal of this dut y. When former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha of the BJP demanded that pending the Government s final decision in this regard, the excise duty on gold jewellery sho uld not come into effect, Mukherjee said he would have to look into the legal as pect of allowing it. The Finance Minister said he would not withdraw the increase in custom duty on g old as the precious metal was being imported in a large amount worth 46 billion dollars a year, next only to the Bill for Petroleum import. He said the Government did not want to encourage import of dead assets beyond a limit. The Finance Minister also announced that a special package would be worked out f or sericulturist to ward off the effect of reduction in import duty on raw silk given last year to help weavers. He also made an apeal to states to change their mind-set and think with open min d on introduction of the Goods and Services Tax. The Finance Minister, in his over an hour-long reply sought the cooperation from the Opposition in implementing the Budget Proposals which he said were for boos ting domestic demand and the only way to maintain growth in a hostile global eco nomic environment. He said his Budget had three objectives: Coming back to high growth trajectory o f 9 per cent, fiscal consolidation and moderating inflation. Mukherjee said it was a fact that the world was passing through a very difficult international economic phase with the development in West Asia creating uncerta inty in oil market and the Eurozone crisis affecting financial health of major e conomies like Japan and the US. In obvious reference to coalition partners, he s ought to stress that the Government needed to take several decisions which it co uld not take as it had to consider the perception of others too and take them al ong. My objective is not to win school debates but to get things done, he said. The Finance Minister also sought to emphasise that the Budget proposals were aim ed at boosting agricultural growth as without that domestic demand could not be increased. He also pointed out that he had brought down the excise duty from the 14 to 12 p er cent to boost production. For introducing GST, realignment of taxes would be needed, he added. Mukherjee said he could take satisfaction in bringing down inflation from 21 per cent in February, 2010 to 8 per cent in January, 2011. He, however, said he would have more choice in monetary measures if the supply c onstraints could be met. Mukherjee accepted the need of balancing the current account, and sought to assu re the House that his Budget did not have any hidden figures. The Finance Minist er sought to point out that there was a shortfall of Rs 32,000 crore in the dire ct taxes because of the low profitability of the corporate sector. He said the Government fully realised the need of profligacy in expenditure. Coming to the issue of central compensation to states for proposed scrapping of the sales tax, he said the states had to accept certain objectives. Unless the C entre was given a timeframe for introduction of GST, how long it could on compen sating the states, he said. Finally, he sought to debunk the allegations that the Centre was trying to attac k the federal structure of the Constitution, referring specially to Leader of Op

. (UNI) 2) hindustan times The strike by bullion traders and jewellers continued for the sixteenth day on S unday to protest the proposed increase in import duty on gold and imposition of excise duty on unbranded jewellery. Traders have warned that imposition of higher levies may lead to heavy paper wor k for small jewellers and a rise in retail gold prices by over 6%. which is seek ing to rein in a widening current account-deficit. coins and platin um to 4% from 2%. Mukherjee pointed out that the successive Finance Commissions had been recommend ing devolution of more economic resources to states and the share of states in t he Central revenue had been increased to 32 per cent.000 crore revenue to be collected this year would not be appropriated b y me alone. The government had proposed a hike in import duty on gold bars. Most jewellery houses in the country are closed since finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget proposals on March 16 imposed one% excise duty on unbran ded jewellery and doubled the import duty to 4% on gold. Striking associations in different part of the country have collectively decided to go for a complete closure of bullion markets in major as well as small towns . said in a statemen t on Sunday that establishments of gems and jewellery traders in Gurgaon remaine d closed as part of the strike. passed the Appropriation Bill for 2012. Gold Souk Mall Jewellers Association. President. he said. thereafter. The House. after doubling the tax in January. Haresh Soni. The Rs 41. All India Sarafa Association President Sheel Chand Jain has said the strike will go on for an indefinite period until the government roll backs the taxes impose d on the bullion trade.position Sushma Swaraj s remarks.

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