As the country gears up for implementing mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery from Wednesday, the jewellery industry is looking for clarity on various issues such as exemption from these norms for exports and whether gold jewellery of 20 and 24 carats will be allowed.
The Consumer Affairs Ministry is set to meet with industry stakeholders today late evening to discuss issues being faced by the sector in implementing these norms. Players have also raised concerns about inadequate infrastructure regarding hallmarking centres in the country as they are saddled with old stocks.
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Hallmarking of gold jewellery has been brought in to protect consumers' interest. Indian shoppers will get the assurance of their gold jewellery purchases’ marked purity and credibility as these norms become mandatory. With the norms slated to come into effect from Wednesday, jewellers will sell gold jewellery of only 14, 18 and 22 carats.
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Ashish Pethe, Chairman, All India Gem & Jewellery Domestic Council, said, “While there are a good enough number of hallmarking centres in the big cities, there is inadequate infrastructure in smaller towns. So it will be difficult for small jewellers in smaller towns to get their jewellery hallmarked and we have urged the authorities to look at measures to bolster this infrastructure.”
“Also, the current law mandates for only three categories of gold jewellery to be sold in 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat. But traditionally as part of the social norms that have been prevalent for hundreds of year, gold jewellery is also sold in 20 carats, 23 carats and 24 carats and a lot of karigars are involved in making jewellery in these categories. We are hoping to get more clarity on some of these issues," he added.
Earlier, the norms were set to be enforced from January 1, but industry was given time of about six months to clear old stock of non-hallmarked jewellery. However, due to the pandemic, industry players continue to be saddled with old stocks, and there are concerns about getting these hallmarked in a short time.
In May, the Consumer Affairs Ministry decided to give additional 15 days to enforce the hallmarking norms until June 15. The Ministry has also set up an expert committee to resolve issues being faced by jewellers and appointed Pramod Tewari, DG, Bureau of Indian as the committee’s convener.
Collin Sharma, Chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) said, “ It is important to keep the exports of gems and jewellery out of the ambit of hallmarking for the smooth functioning of the exports and to take maximum opportunity to cater to the world market as per their requirement. GJEPC had requested a series of amendments in the provisions which will help the exporters to export gold jewellery abroad unhindered. As per current provisions though exports are kept out of hallmarking provisions, but there remains some ambiguity and we hope to get clarity on this issue.”