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Monday, June 13, 2016

Now, The 'Gold Hallmark' Is Mandatory For All Jewellery Sale In India


Now, you won’t have to worry about the purity of the gold jewellery you buy. The Indian government is in the process of making the purity stamp, popularly known as hallmarking, a must for all jewellery shops in the country.

Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that once it becomes mandatory, jewellers will be made accountable and jewellery shops will have to sell hallmarked, certified gold jewellery.

“The main purpose is to protect consumers. There have been instances where people are duped on the quality of gold jewellery. Considering this, we are working on making hallmarking mandatory in coming times,” said Paswan.

While sharing his experience with Mail Today, Paswan said he was once misled while purchasing gold jewellery for his mother.

“Consumers are entitled to quality assurance. Generally, people know about jewellery items of 18K to 24K gold. But, we have received information of lower standard of gold jewellery being sold. The purpose is that consumers could easily understand what they are getting so that they could not be misled. There should be clear distinctions if someone visits a shop to buy gold jewellery,” the minister said.

Paswan said that in order to protect the consumers, an epoch-changing BIS Act, 2016, has been passed by Parliament with provisions for simpler self-certification, mandatory hallmarking, product recall, and product liability for better consumer protection.

Welcoming the move, Praveen Khandelwal, national secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), said: “This is a good step for consumers. But, proper workshop and training for small-time jewelers will be needed to make it successful. Otherwise, the small-time jewellers will remain dependent on big jewellers for the hallmarked stuff. Moreover, there should be variable standards of hallmarking so that even poor people can get jewellery of their choice.”

Officials said that there are tests for the purity of gold and the hallmark guarantees the quality assurance. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) identifies hallmarking centres and gives recognition.

“The ministry is working out to make hallmarking mandatory,” said a senior ministry official.

Under the new Act, BIS can order the recall of products which do not conform to standards, in addition to cancelling the manufacturer's licence. It can also order compensation for consumers.

Hallmarking of gold jewellery, which guarantees customers that the gold is pure, was introduced in 2000. Now jewellers are required to get licences from the BIS and get goods hallmarked by one of 400 or so BIS-authorised centres.

According to the standards authority, there are almost 13,000 licensed domestic jewellers. The sellers can be penalised through a fine or having their licenses revoked if they are found to be misusing the license.

Officials said that more hallmarking centres will be needed so that jewellers can get the hallmarking done easily.

“We have only about 400 centres in the country. This will not be sufficient to cater to all jewellers. Many states have very few centres and jewellers from remote places need to travel to the state capital for hallmarking. This needs to be resolved,” said an official.
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