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Gold Hallmarking

Sat 30 Nov, 2019

The Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Shri Ram Vilas Paswan announced that Gold Hallmarking will be made mandatory across the nation from 15th January, 2020. This will make it compulsory for all the jewellers selling gold jewellery and artefacts to register with BIS and sell only hallmarked Gold jewellery and artefacts.

Background

  • India is the largest importer of gold, which mainly caters to the demand of the jewellery industry. In volume terms, the country imports 700-800 tonne of gold annually.
  • Gold hallmarking is a purity certification of the precious metal and is voluntary in nature at present. BIS has been running a hallmarking scheme for gold jewellery since April 2000.
  • A Committee on Transforming India’s Gold Market was constituted by NITI Aayog under Chairmanship of Ratan P. Watal has also recommended for Gold Hallmarking should be made mandatory .
  • As per global trade rules of WTO, a member country has to notify a quality control order with the Geneva-based multilateral body and the process takes about two months time.
  • Exporting nations have to comply with the BIS quality norms specified for gold in the quality control order. India is a part of the 164-member WTO since 1995.

Major Highlights

  • The BIS (Bureau of Indian standards) Act 2016 has enabling provisions under Section 14 & Section 16 for making hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts mandatory by the Central Government.
  • A period of one year will be given for implementation to ensure that new A&H (assaying and hallmarking) centres will be set up by private entrepreneurs at locations where demand of Gold Jewellery and artefacts arises ;completion of the registration process of jewellers and one year time for retailers of jewellery to clear their existing stocks.

Benefits

  • Protect the consumer against irregular gold quality
  • Develop export competitiveness
  • Develop India as a leading gold market centre in the world.
  • Hallmarking will benefit the poor people in villages and small towns who are not able to make out the purity of gold they have been buying.

Hallmarking

  • Hallmark is a Government seal that’s stamped precious metal objects, such as jewellery or silverware. 
  • Hallmarking is the accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in precious metal articles.
  • Testing precious metals for purity is called “assaying”.

The BIS Act 2016

  • Indian Standard “IS 15820:2009 General Requirements for Establishment and Operation of Assaying and Hallmarking Centres” is the basis for recognition of Assaying and Hallmarking Centres.
  • The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has formulated standards for hallmarking gold jewellery in three grades — 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat.
  • There is a provision for a fine of a minimum Rs 1 lakh and up to five times of the value of article as well as one year jail.