New Delhi: State-run Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has been asked to frame hallmarking standards for jewellery made from 24 carat gold, consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Wednesday.

The government plans to soon make hallmarking (quality certification) of gold mandatory and is working to strengthen the required infrastructure, including testing labs, he added.

At present, there are BIS standards for hallmarking of jewellery made from 14, 18 and 22 carat gold.

“Earlier, jewellery could not be made from 24 carat gold. Now it is possible to make with the sophisticated technology available abroad. There is a demand to have standards for this category also," Paswan told reporters.

He was addressing the media after chairing the first meeting of the governing council of the BIS post enactment of the new Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act 2016 that has been rolled out from 12 October.

BIS director general Surina Rajan said it will conduct scientific analysis to ascertain if it is possible to set standards for 24 carat gold. There are more than 4 lakh jewellers in the country. Most of testing labs at present are run by the private sector and there is a need to strengthen their number to implement the mandatory hallmarking system, she added.

Around 21,692 jewellers have taken hallmarking licences so far. Hallmarking is optional right now. On reports of spurious LED products, Rajan said that the standards for safety as well as performance are in place. But the safety standards are mandatory and not the performance norms.

“We have discussed the matter with the commerce ministry to make performance mandatory for LED bulbs. When both safety and performance standards are made mandatory, the product will be checked on both the parameters and will be allowed to sell in the market. This will be done soon," she said.

Market research firm Nielsen has found that 76% brands making LED bulbs and 71% of those making LED downlighters are not following the safety standards.

Paswan further shared that BIS has already initiated steps to effectively implement the new provisions of the act.

The Bureau has also reduced time for granting registration to 12 days. Till October, more than 33,900 licences have been in operation for using ISI mark and more than 10,100 registrations have been granted, he said, adding that efforts will be made to create more awareness among public about BIS and ISI quality mark.

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