Gold hallmarking is a purity certification of the precious metal and is voluntary in nature at present. (Representative image)
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday further extended the deadline for mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts by a fortnight till June 15 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting chaired by consumer affairs minister Piyush Goyal.
In November 2019, the government had announced that hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts would be made mandatory across the country from January 15, 2021. However, the deadline was extended for four months till June 1 after jewellers sought more time in view of the pandemic.
Gold hallmarking is a purity certification of the precious metal and is voluntary in nature at present.
“In view of Covid, the government accepted the request of stakeholders to give jewellers some more time to get prepared for implementation and resolve issues,” an official statement said.
Hallmarking of gold jewellery is set to begin from June 15. Earlier, it was expected to be implemented from June 1, 2021, it added.
A committee, headed by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Director General Pramod Tewari, has been formed to ensure proper coordination and resolve the implementation issues.
The committee would also comprise Nidhi Khare, additional secretary, department of consumer affairs and representatives of jewellers associations, trade and hallmarking bodies, among others.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister said “India must have the world’s best standards in gold jewellery.”
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, he said.
“This step will also help to develop India as a leading gold market center in the world,” he added.
From June 15, jewellers will be allowed to sell only 14, 18 and 22 carats of gold jewellery.
The BIS has been running a hallmarking scheme for gold jewellery since April 2000. Around 40 per cent of gold jewellery is being hallmarked currently.
The government said there has been 25 per cent increase in assaying and hallmarking centers to 945 from 454 in the last five years. Presently, 940 assaying and hallmarking centres are operative. Out of this 84 centres have been set up under the government subsidy scheme in various districts.
About 14 crore articles can be hallmarked in a year with the existing capacity of these centres, it added.
India has around 4 lakh jewellers, out of which only 35,879 have been BIS certified, as per the World Gold Council.
According to BIS, the mandatory hallmarking will protect the public against lower caratage and ensure consumers do not get cheated while buying gold ornaments and get the purity as marked on the ornaments.
India imports 700-800 tonnes of gold annually.