The government is planning to make hallmarking along with carat count mandatory for the gold jewellery sold in the country, Consumers Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Friday. Hallmarking will be done for gold jewellery in three categories -- 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat, the minister disclosed.
"At present people don't get to know the quality of the gold jewellery that they buy. We are planning to make hallmark for gold jewellery mandatory. It should be done by January," Paswan told reporters at an event organised by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The minister said that the BIS mark is used on some jewellery but that does not sufficiently convey the quality of jewellery to consumers. Under the proposed rules hallmark will also mention the carat of gold used in the jewellery, Paswan said.
The Department of Consumer Affairs is working on bringing hallmarking regulations under the new BIS Act 2016, he added. A senior official told Mail Today that under this Act, the Bureau of Indian Standards can order recall of products not conforming to standards, in addition to cancellation of license of the manufacturer. It can also order compensation to consumers in case goods and services do not conform to the standards.
Currently there are some jewellers who follow hallmarking voluntarily. If it is to be made mandatory, the government needs to increase the number of officially recognised assaying centres. At present there are less than 500 such centres this number will have to be increased to at least 5,000, according to industry sources.
Hallmark is a purity certification of gold articles in accordance with standards prescribed by the bureau of Indian standards (BIS). The gold ornament is tested at an assaying and hallmarking centre before being certified for purity. A hallmark consists of five components - BIS mark, fineness number (cartage), assaying and hallmarking centre's mark, jeweller's identification mark and year of marking by a code letter.
Once hallmarking is made mandatory, imprisonment up to two years or a fine up to ten times of the value of goods sold, or both, are provided as penalty for non-compliance. Paswan disclosed the government's plan for making hallmarking mandatory while inaugurating the seminar on "Standards Make Cities Smarter" organized by Bureau of Indian Standard on the occasion of 48th World Standards Day in the capital on Friday. Paswan said that consumers would get a better deal through the new Consumer Protection and the BIS Act. He also released a pre standardization report regarding unified, secure & resilient ICT backbone for smart cities.
Paswan said that building a smart city is a highly complex task having its own challenges. Standards are the only common denominator that can simplify this task, he added. National standards make smart cities work safely and smoothly. Besides, it provides important guidance for all aspects of city life, including energy-efficient buildings, intelligent transportation, and improved waste management, thereby builds sustainable communities, the minister added.