Recently, the government announced the phased implementation of mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery.
In the first phase, gold hallmarking will be available in only in 256 districts and jewellers having annual turnover above Rs 40 lakh will come under its purview.
What is Gold hallmarking?
- The Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), which operates gold and silver hallmarking scheme in India, defines hallmarking as the “accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in precious metal articles.”
- So, it is a “guarantee of purity or fineness” of precious metal articles.
Which metals are covered hallmarking in India?
- The government, through a notification issued on June 14, 2018, notified two categories—gold jewellery and gold artefacts; and silver jewellery and silver artefacts—under the purview of hallmarking.
- So, hallmarking in India is available for jewellery of only two metals—gold and silver.
- However, a certain category of jewellery and items will be exempted from the mandatory requirement of hallmarking.
- According to the Department of Consumer Affairs, “Export and re-import of jewellery as per Trade Policy of Government of India — Jewellery for international exhibitions, jewellery for government-approved B2B domestic exhibitions will be exempted from mandatory Hallmarking.”
- The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said that watches, fountain pens and special types of jewellery such as Kundan, Polki and Jadau will be exempted from hallmarking.
Are all jewellers covered under the purview of hallmarking?
- No. Jewellers with annual turnover up to Rs 40 lakh will be exempted from mandatory hallmarking.
What are the purity standards for gold and silver under the hallmarking scheme?
- As per BIS standards, there are three categories of hallmarking based on purity of gold—22 carat, 18 carat and 14 carat. However, the ministry on 15 June announced that “Gold of Additional carats 20, 23 and 24 will also be allowed for Hallmarking.”
What was the need of making gold hallmarking mandatory?
- India is the biggest consumer of gold. However, the level of hallmarked jewellery is very low in the country.
- According to the ministry, at present, only 30% of Indian gold jewellery is hallmarked.
- One of the reasons responsible for low level of hallmarked jewellery is non-availability of sufficient assaying and hallmarking centres (A&HC).
- There are about only 35,879 jewellers across the country, who are certified by BIS. The number of A&HC is 945.
- According to the ministry, one A&H centre can hallmark 1500 articles in a day and the estimated hallmarking capacity of A&H centres per year is 14 crore articles.
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