The All India Gem Jewellery Domestic Council has urged the Department of Consumer Affairs under the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to postpone the deadline for mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery by a year.
The mandatory gold jewellery hallmarking was to be implemented from June.
Out of the 733 districts in the country, only 245 districts now have assaying and hallmarking centres (as per BIS data) and GJC urged the BIS to ensure that there is at least one A&H Centre in each district in the country.
GJC said it is essential to have proper accredited, fully functional assaying and hallmarking Centres in all districts with proper infrastructure and trained personnel prior to the requirement of mandatory hallmarking.
As per BIS data there are 940 assaying centres in 245 districts across India and the number of jewellers registered with BIS are 31,585. However, there is no presence of hallmarking centres in 488 districts.
Even the existing Centres are concentrated only in and around the urban area or clusters where there is heavy concentration of jewellers.
Only eight per cent of the entire country has the access to A&H centres.
Ashish Pethe, Chairman, GJC, said, “There are various operational and procedural issues in relation to implementation of the mandatory requirement. This will also severely affect the jewellery industry, leading to drastic consequences such as cessation of business, loss of livelihood, litigation and unnecessary waste of time and energy.”
Mandatory hallmarking in its current state has the potential to affect the livelihood of millions of people and will lead to huge disruption in the century’s old jewellery business, he added.
Due to Covid-19, the jewellery business is already suffering, and mandatory hallmarking should be postponed by at least an year till the infrastructure is in place, he said.
Given the on-going Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that various parts of the country continue to be in a lockdown scenario, GJC said, “There are many states and Union Territories such as Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and Lakshadweep where there are no assaying Centres. Jewellers are closing their business and unemployment are leading. It is therefore of paramount importance for the government and BIS to first consider the practical issues.”