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India’s jewellery duty rollback: Opposition parties jostle for credit

Though the postponement of the General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) was the biggest concession Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee made in India’s Finance Bill, 2012-13, it was the rollback of a 1 percent excise duty levy that the country’s political parties were more excited about. These even competed against each other to take credit for the move.

The entire opposition had virtually implored the Finance Minister to roll back the 1 percent tax on unbranded gold jewellery. Political parties had also participated in a 21-day strike by jewellers against the move. So vehement was opposition to the move that demonstrations by jewellers in Ahmedabad had to be lathicharged and delegations of jewellers’ associations across India met every political leader they could, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Chief M Karunanidhi and Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee, to ask them to raise the rollback issue.