Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra are the top-3 states where the most number of districts have been identified for the first-phase implementation of mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts, according to the consumer affairs ministry. Mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts came into force from June 16 in a phased manner, and the first phase will cover 256 districts. So far, gold hallmarking, a purity certification of the precious metal, has been voluntary in nature.
According to a notification issued by the ministry, the government has identified 256 districts from 28 states and Union territories for Phase-1 implementation of gold hallmarking. Among the list of the states, a maximum of 24 districts have been identified from Tamil Nadu for the implementation of mandatory gold hallmarking, followed by Gujarat (23 districts) and Maharashtra (22 districts). About 19 districts each have been identified in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh for compulsory gold hallmarking. Whereas, seven districts each in Delhi and Telangana, while in Andhra Pradesh and Punjab (12 districts each), Kerala (13 districts), Karnataka (14 districts) and Haryana (15 districts) have been identified, the notification added. Jewellers in 256 districts have been allowed to sell only 14, 18 and 22 carats of gold jewellery with mandatory hallmarking marks.
Last month, the government relaxed mandatory hallmarking of gold for certain players in the jewellery sector after extensive consultation with stakeholders. For instance, the government has exempted jewellers with an annual turnover of up to Rs 40 lakh from mandatory hallmarking. It has also been exempted on those who export and re-import jewellery as per the government’s trade policy, jewellery meant for international exhibitions as well as for government-approved B2B domestic exhibitions. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has been running a hallmarking scheme for gold jewellery since April 2000. Around 40 per cent of gold jewellery is being hallmarked currently. India has around four lakh jewellers. Out of this, only 35,879 are BIS certified. According to the World Gold Council, India imports 700-800 tonnes of gold annually.