Hallmarks Still Voluntary in India

BISNew Delhi: The Bureau of Indian Standards Act (BIS Act, 1986) will enable hallmarking of precious metals and jewellery including gold by providing ‘legal recognition’ through amending the Act. On making the process mandatory, the Government will only take a call after further assessment of consumer needs by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

The BIS, which will now be positioned as National Standards Body of India, currently certifies gold quality of as low as 9 carat (K) and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan doubted that jewellers were disclosing quality grades to consumers.

“Till today, I had only heard of 18K to 24K gold. But I was told here that grades are as low as 9K. We need consumers to easily understand what is being sold and such distinctions are not clear when someone visits a shop to buy gold,” he said at a meeting today of stakeholders on the amendment of the BIS Act.

“Through amending the Act, legal status is being given to gold hallmarking. It will remain a voluntary standard,” he added.

G. Gurucharan, Additional Secretary of the Department of Consumer Affairs, stated that there were two related concepts in the matter of setting standards for gold jewellery.

“One, there are tests for the purity of gold and the other is the hallmark that guarantees the quality assurance. BIS identifies hallmarking centres and gives recognition. All jewellery that is sold then is guaranteed of the quality. We will work out making it mandatory after further consultation,” he said.