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Hallmarking on gold jewellery and other related items will become mandatory from Wednesday, said the Union ministry or consumer affairs, food and public distribution.

The government has said that the guidelines will be initially implemented in 256 districts as part of a phase-wise plan.

"Continuing our government's endeavour for better protection and satisfaction of customers, mandatory hallmarking in 256 districts will be implemented from 16 June," Union minister Piyush Goyal wrote on Twitter.

"No penalty will be imposed till August 2021. This will help develop India as a leading global gold market centre," he added.

What are the new guidelines?

According to a government release, jewellers with annual turnover up to 40 lakh will be exempted from the mandatory hallmarking rule.

"Hallmarking will be initially be starting from 256 districts of the country which have Assaying marking centres. Jewellers with annual turnover up to 40 lakh will be exempted from mandatory hallmarking," the release said.

"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," it added.

Further, gold of additional carats 20, 23 and 24 will also be allowed for hallmarking.

However, watches, fountain pens and special types of jewellery-- including Kundan, Polki and Jadau-- will be exempted from hallmarking.

"Jewellers can continue to buy back old gold jewellery without hallmark from the consumer. In order to give adequate time to the manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of gold jewellery, there would be no penalties till August end. Old jewellery can be got hallmarked as it is, if feasible by the jeweller or after melting and making new jewellery," the government said.

It further said a committee constituting representatives of all stakeholders, revenue officials and legal experts will be formed to look into the issues that may possibly emerge during the implementation of the scheme.

Notably, the hallmarking of gold jewellery was earlier set to begin from 15 June.

Under the hallmarking scheme of the Bureau of Indian Standards, jewellers are registered for selling hallmarked jewellery and recognise testing and hallmarking centres.

"BIS (Hallmarking) Regulations, were implemented with effect from June 14, 2018. Hallmarking will enable consumers/jewellery buyers to make the right choice and save them from any unnecessary confusion while buying gold. At present, only 30 per cent of Indian gold jewellery is hallmarked," the release said.

Why hallmarking?

Gold hallmarking is a purity certification of the precious metal and is voluntary in nature at present.

According to the government, the hallmarking of jewellery/artefacts is required to enhance the credibility of gold jewellery and customer satisfaction through third party assurance for the marked purity/fineness of gold, consumer protection.

This step is also expected to help develop India as a leading gold market centre in the world.

The government noted that there has been a 25% increase in Assaying and Hallmarking (A and H) centres in the last five years.

"The number of A and H centres has increased from 454 to 945 in the last five years. At present 940 Assaying and hallmarking centres are operative. Out of this 84 AHCs have been set up under government subsidy scheme in various Districts," the release said.

"Presently A and H Centre's can hallmark 1500 articles in a day, the estimated hallmarking capacity of A&H Centre's per year are 14 crore articles (Assuming 500 articles per shift and 300 working days)," it added.

According to World Gold Council, India has around 4 lakh jewellers, out of this only 35,879 have been BIS certified.


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