New Delhi: The commerce ministry should approve on a priority basis a proposal to make BIS hallmarking mandatory for gold jewellery before Diwali, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Thursday. The hallmarking of gold, which is voluntary in nature at present, is a purity certification of the precious metal.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), under the consumer affairs ministry, is the administrative authority of hallmarking. It has set standards for hallmarking gold jewellery in three grades – 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat.
However, the commerce ministry can issue notification to introduce any mandatory regulation after informing to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
“We have sent a proposal to the commerce ministry to allow mandatory hallmarking for gold jewellery. It should approve on a priority basis before Diwali in the interest of consumers,” Paswan told reporters.
The new BIS Act, 2016 had provisions to make hallmarking mandatory, he added.
The issue came up for discussion in a meeting called to deliberate on ‘Standards formulation and implementation’ with senior officials of the BIS, Niti Aayog and 14 other concerned departments including commerce.
Currently, there are about 800 hallmarking centres across the country and only 40% of jewellery is hallmarked.
Normally, demand for gold jewellery is very high during Diwali festival.
In volume terms, India imports 700-800 tonne of gold annually.