Pranab Mukherjee
he Union Finance Minister, Pranab MukherjeePIB

The striking jewellers called off their 21-day protest on Friday after a meeting with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee over the proposed duty hike in budget 2012-13.

The reports of government overturning the recent hikes in duties also surfaced ahead of the scheduled meeting between the Fiance Minister and jewellers on Friday.

However, Mukherjee persuaded the protesting jewellers to hold their horses for now by assuring that government will consider their concerns.

Jewellery trade shops have remained closed in various cities since March 17 after the Finance Minister presented the Union Budget for 2012-13. The budget proposed to hike import duty on gold bars, coins and platinum from 2 to 4 percent and levied 1 percent excise duty on unbranded jewellery.

Since then, several representations have been sent to the Ministry of Finance by jewellery traders seeking reconsideration of this proposal on the ground that the industry is unorganized and fragmented and would find it difficult to comply with the provisions of Central Excise Law.