In the Budget, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had proposed to increase customs duty to 4 per cent for gold coins, bars and platinum and bring in unbranded jewellery under the excise duty by levying one per cent.

Following a resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Jewellers' Federation, jewellers in the city will be downing their shutters for a week protesting against the proposals on gold made in the Union Budget of 2012 which, they say, would hit legitimate traders hard and drive the business into black market.

In the Budget, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had proposed to increase customs duty to 4 per cent for gold coins, bars and platinum and bring in unbranded jewellery under the excise duty by levying one per cent.

M.S. Balasubramanian, president of the federation, said that a high-level committee met on Wednesday and passed a resolution asking jewellers to close shops from April 5 to 10. In many other States, he said, jewellers were on strike since the day the proposals were made.

The main apprehension, he said, was that the proposals in the Union Budget would lead to new procedures that many customers might be unable or reluctant to comply with. Hence, they would go to black marketers to circumvent these processes, he added.

More In: Madurai