Government to make jewellery hallmarking mandatory in phases

Mumbai: The government will make hallmarking of jewellery mandatory, in phases, starting with places where assaying centres are already present, a senior official said.

"We will not make hallmarking mandatory at places where there are no assaying centres. We will roll it out in phases starting from the places where assaying centres already exist," L Mansingh, secretary at the ministry of consumer affairs, said on the sidelines of a CEO conclave organised by the Multi-Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX).

The government had, earlier, planned to make gold hallmarking mandatory from January 1, 2008.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), a government agency, currently grants hallmark for gold on a voluntary basis. Mansingh said the government may not agree to jewellers' demand for self-certification as the market is "not mature enough" for that.

Hallmarking comprises stringent checks and controls for ensuring the quality and purity of gold. "Unless there is credibility in the certification and there is a statute it is not going to serve any purpose," he said.

He said, India accounted for 1.5 per cent of global gold jewellery export and it is necessary that the country becomes a member of the Vienna Gold Convention.

"In Vienna Gold Convention our objective would be wider. We want the assaying business of the world to come here," he said. "The moment we have credible market and we are a member of Vienna Gold Convention there is great potential for the global share of exports to come here," he added.