Hallmarking of gold jewellery in India has to be made mandatory to ensure transparency for consumers, according to the nodal body for gold jewellery hallmarking, Indian Association of Hallmarking Centres (IAHC). The association said that more than 50 per cent of jewellery in India had been hallmarked since the standard was introduced by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in 2000.
While refuting a recent study ‘Developing Indian Hallmarking — A roadmap for future growth’, by World Gold Council (WGC), which estimated that only around 30 per cent of jewellery in India was hallmarked, Harshad Ajmera, President, IAHC, said, “based on figures obtained from BIS, we can say that over 500 tonnes of gold weighing jewellery was hallmarked in 2014-15.”
The importance of hallmarking can be gauged from the fact that Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed gold loan companies to avail loan of the full value of hallmarked jewellery to borrowers.
K. Anand Kumar, Secretary, IAHC, said that with 343 hallmarking centres across India, there was no shortage of hallmarking centres. He said 170 of these were south India-based. There are 15,000 organised jewellery players with a BIS licence, and the organised segment accounts for 75 per cent of the industry. Capacity utilisation in smaller centres is 30-40 per cent, but 100 per cent in cities.
Hallmarking centres charge Rs.250 per item and pay 10 per cent royalty to BIS. In 2013-14, hallmarking centres certified 2.6 crore pieces of gold jewellery at an average weight of 18 grams per unit, which totals 470 tonnes. “In 2014-15, it was around 3.05 crore pieces, which is around 550 tonnes of hallmarked jewellery,” James Jose, Managing Director, Cochin Hallmark Company, said.
“Hallmarking should be made mandatory. We are awaiting the government’s passing of the Amendment to BIS Act 1985, which is currently pending in the parliament,’’ Mr. Jose said, “this will ensure that hallmarking is followed country-wide.’’
Hallmarking association says more than 500 tonnes of gold jewellery hallmarked in 2014-15
Indian Association of Hallmarking Centres (IAHC) wants hallmarking to be made mandatory, Amendment to BIS Act 1985 awaited
IAHC working with BIS to develop unique ID for every item of gold jewellery
Unique ID scheme Meanwhile, the IAHC is working with BIS to develop a UID (unique identification) scheme for every item of gold jewellery sold. It will have a unique 10-digit identification number and give the entire history of the piece. The UID scheme for hallmarked gold jewellery is to be first launched in metros followed by State capitals and then at district-level.
Mr. Kumar said the software for the scheme was being developed and “products under this scheme will carry a guarantee card for which charge of Rs.100 is proposed. It will take 8-12 months to work out the details and launch.”