Jewellers in India partially called off their three-week-old strike, on assurances from Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee that a budget proposal to levy excise duty on unbranded jewellery may be rolled back. However, traders in western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat continuing to protest against some budget proposals, even as a key gold buying festival neared in the world's biggest buyer of bullion. "Maharashtra and Gujarat are still on strike, while associations from bigger cities have called off the agitation," said Kumar Jain, vice chairman of Mumbai Jewellers Association. The wedding season is at its peak in India, with Akshaya Tritiya, one of the biggest gold buying festivals later in the month, making the period crucial for jewellers. The (Times of India) quoted Rakesh Saraf, a representative of the Karol Bagh Jewellers Association, as saying the strike would resume on May 11 if no such announcement was forthcoming. The strike was staged to protest against an excise levy on unbranded jewellery of 0.3 percent, and a tax collected at source on transactions worth more than 200,000 rupees ($3,900). The annual budget also doubled import duty on gold to 4 percent. The moves are game-changers for the $200 billion a year jewellery industry and experts are predicting they could cut gold imports by a third to 655 tonnes in 2012, allowing China to overtake India as the biggest gold importer. The strike by jewellers resulted in a loss of 200 billion rupees ($3.92 billion), local media estimated.