Jewellers have decided to go on a nationwide token strike on Monday, August 23, 2021 to protest against what they called the ‘arbitrarily implemented mandatory hallmarking process’ by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
The strike call has been given by the National Task Force on Hallmarking formed by 350 Associations and Federations of jewellers representing all four zones of the gems & jewellery industry.
The jewellers are upset that despite 10 meetings held no relief has been offered in writing by BIS or Ministry of Corporate Affairs on the Hallmarking Unique ID (HUID) issue.
They said BIS being a standards and quality assurance institution was playing the role of a revenue department and the Gem & jewellery industry has become a soft target. Jewellers said they had waited for almost 2 months with complications piling up and “impractical laws” forcing the industry to the brink of collapse.
Ashok Minawala, member, National Task Force on Hallmarking, Past chairman of All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council said, “We have always welcomed Hallmarking as it has built our businesses and confidence of our customers, but we cannot accept the new HUID as it has nothing to do with the purity of gold.”
“The new HUID is a 6-digitcode, which BIS feels will improve gold purity, but BIS cannot prove even one element of how it can improve the purity, apart from it being just a tracking mechanism. The new process has been made a 'destructive process' that damages our jewellery being hallmarked. The element of cancellation of registration, penal provisions, search & seizure will ultimately bring ‘Inspector Raaj’ to the industry,” he added.
He said the one-day token strike would be a peaceful protest against “arbitrary implementation of HUID, which is impractical and unimplementable.”
“HUID is against customer interest and against the principle of ease of doing business. HUID is cumbersome and shall lead to harassment for customers. It is also illegal as per laws as this process interferes with data privacy and business secrecy of citizens. Jewellers feel, by registering with BIS, they have signed their death warrant in terms of losses and loss of livelihood,” he added.
Dinesh Jain, member National Task Force on Hallmarking, Director GJC & GJSCI, said, “The HUID is taking almost 5 to 10 days to hallmark the products, resulting in complete bottleneck and the industry is on a standstill. Tonnes of jewellery is lying idle due to delays in the existing hallmarking process and BIS is simply adding fire to our anxiety instead of resolving issues.”