At present, only 30,000 jewellers out of the nearly 300,000 jewellers in the country are BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) certified and are selling hallmark gold.
The government had extended the deadline for mandatory hallmarking to June 1, 2020, from January 15, 2021, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have requested the government for extension of the deadline till January 2022 as we have lost three months in lockdown and now it may require at least nine months for the market to revive,” said IBJA national secretary Surendra Mehta.
He also said that after the introduction of the Consumer Protection Act, the government needs to relook at the entire Hallmarking Act.
“We feel the Consumer Protection Act is much wider in scope and covers all aspects of sales and services while the Hallmarking Act caters to a limited area. Further, there are different penal provisions in the Consumer Protection Act and the Hallmarking Act. Such different penal provisions in two different Acts may lead to delays in consumers getting justice,” said Mehta.
Jewellers said there are hardly any sales of gold jewellery these days owing to the surge in gold prices to about Rs 50,000 per 10 grams and the economic uncertainty prevailing in the market. Unless jewellers are able to sell their products, they cannot replace their stock with hallmark gold, they said.
Anantha Padmnabhan, chairman of the All India Gem & Jewellery Domestic Council, said that by September 2021, jewellers will be able to replace 70% of their stocks with hallmarked gold. “We will need another three to four months to completely replace the stock with hallmarked gold. So the deadline should be extended to January 1, 2022. “Small jewellers will suffer if the deadline is June 1, 2021,” he said.
However, Uday Shinde, president of Indian Association of Hallmarking Centres, said: “We were expecting that at least 100,000 jewellers will opt for mandatory hallmarking by October this year. But the pandemic has delayed the process. However, I feel that the process should not be delayed beyond June 1, 2021. If the date has to be deferred further, then jewellers should disclose to the government their stock, both hallmarked and non-hallmarked.”