NEW DELHI :
The government has notified the mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts, which will come into force from January 15, 2021.
Till then, jewellers have been given time for implementation of this notification, violation of which would be punishable under the provisions of the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016.
As per the notification, only a registered jewellers will be allowed to sell the hallmarked gold articles through certified sales outlets.
Instead of ten grades earlier, registered jewellers will be allowed to sell jewellery and artefacts only in three grades of gold -- 14, 18 and 22 carat.
Gold hallmarking is a purity certification of the precious metal and is voluntary in nature at present. The BIS is already running a hallmarking scheme for gold jewellery since April 2000 and around 40 per cent of gold jewellery is being hallmarked currently.
The mandatory hallmarking is not required for gold meant for exports, if an article weighs less than two grams and which is in course of consignment from outside India to an assaying and hallmarking centre in India.
It will not apply on any article which is intended to be used for medical, dental, veterinary, scientific or industrial purposes, any article of gold thread and any manufactured article which is not substantially complete, and which is intended for further manufacture, the notification said.
Hallmarked gold jewellery will have four components -- BIS mark; purity in carat and fineness; assaying and hallmarking centre's identification mark/number besides jeweller's identification mark/number.
Welcoming the move, trade body World Gold Council India Managing Director Somasundaram PR said: "The transition time of one year will allow the industry enough time to sell the existing inventory while simultaneously, working on plugging any gap in infrastructure or making suitable changes in logistics."
Making hallmarking mandatory is a much-awaited progressive step to safeguard the interests of the consumers, particularly women, who put their hard-earned savings into this asset class, he said.
This reform, backed by a tight enforcement mechanism, will underpin trust and a change of perception about Indian gold jewellery, creating a favourable environment to market the famed handcrafting skills appropriately, he added.
According to Somasundaram, employment potential in assaying and hallmarking will increase. Hallmarking will also create a level playing field, benefitting small players.
At present, there are 892 assaying and hallmarking centres in 234 district locations, and 28,849 jewellers have taken BIS registration. The government plans to set up hallmarking centres in each district in the country.