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Government plans to make BIS hallmarking mandatory for gold jewellery

The Centre plans to notify the new regulation in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a week’s time, said Anantha Padmanabhan, chairman, All India Gems & Jewellery Domestic Council.

, ET Bureau|
Aug 23, 2019, 03.03 PM IST
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A karat is a measurement indicating the proportion of gold in an alloy out of 24 parts, so 18 karat gold is 18/24 parts gold.
KOLKATA: The government has revived its plans to make Bureau of Indian Standards hallmarking mandatory for gold jewellery as only 10% of about 300,000 jewellers in the country have registered themselves with BIS so far.

The Centre plans to notify the new regulation in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a week’s time, said Anantha Padmanabhan, chairman, All India Gems & Jewellery Domestic Council.

Being a signatory to WTO, India is required to notify the trade body before introducing any mandatory regulation, said Padmanabhan who recently had an interaction with BIS director general Surina Rajan.

Harshad Ajmera, president of Indian Association of Hallmarking Centres (IAHC), said the estimated 270,000 jewellers who have not taken the hallmarking licence from BIS account for 50% of the total gold jewellery production in the country.

In the last fiscal, 44.9 million pieces of jewellery containing 450-500 tonnes of gold were hallmarked, he said. “However, in the current financial year the hallmark turnover may be less because sales have dwindled due to an increase of import duty on gold,” Ajmera said.

Padmanabhan said jewellery demand has come down 10% year on year since April till date due to high price of gold.

There are many licensed or unlicensed hallmarking centres that do not follow best practices. Hence the need to set a standard of purity for maintaining uniformity and to ensure quality.

BIS has roped in Indian Institute of Technology Bombay to help digitise the hallmarking process, officials said. The two have signed a memorandum of understanding whereby IIT Bombay would provide digital technology solutions for hallmarking. Digitisation of hallmarking will happen in the next one year and will increase consumer confidence, they said.

The new Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016 had provisions to make hallmarking mandatory. Now the government is set to get it done.

BIS is looking to make it less difficult for jewellers to adopt standard hallmarking, officials said.

“Even if hallmarking is made mandatory, the process will be gradual and jewellers will be given time to adjust to the process,” said Padmanabhan.

At present, 14 karat, 18 karat and 22 karat gold jewellery are required to be hallmarked.

A karat is a measurement indicating the proportion of gold in an alloy out of 24 parts, so 18 karat gold is 18/24 parts gold.

BIS has now received demand for introducing hallmarking for 20 karat and 23 karat gold, officials said.

BIS is also looking to standardise display made by jewellers so as to reduce corruptive claims.
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