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Jewellers welcome BIS amendment Bill

K.A. Martin


The Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs had initiated the programme of hallmarking of gold jewellery on a voluntary basis since April 2000


KOCHI: Jewellers in the city have welcomed the spirit and general tone of the Bureau of Indian Standards (Amendment) Bill, 2011, making hallmarking mandatory for gold jewellery.

Hallmarking is good for the trade in the long-term, a spokesman for the All Kerala Gold and Silver Merchants' Association told The Hindu here on Wednesday.

However, he said the jewellers were not aware of the exact position the government had taken and what window of time was being given to the jewellers, especially in upcountry markets, to comply with the new requirement.

The spokesman said the association was of the view that the new stipulation should not be turned into a tool to harass traders and sufficient time should be given to the jewellers to comply with the regulation. The general manager in a leading gold business house said hallmarked gold jewellery was not anything new to Kerala and south India as a whole. Promotional efforts by the government five years back had seen jewellers voluntarily going in for hallmarking of gold jewellery they sold. Almost the entire lot of big gold jewellery houses had gone in for hallmarking already, he added.

Hallmarking is a step to ensure consumer protection and is an authoritative seal of quality assurance issued by an agency approved by the government, in this case the agency being the Bureau of Indian Standards under the Union Consumer Affairs Ministry. At present about 80 items, including milk products and cement, are mandatorily hallmarked.

The spokesman said the jewellers had raised their concerns regarding the BIS (Amendment) Bill with Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs K.V. Thomas at a recent meeting.

He said small jewellers might find it difficult to immediately switch to hallmarking their products considering that the registration fee and per piece hallmarking charges were quite high. The Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs had initiated the programme of hallmarking of gold jewellery on a voluntary basis since April 2000.

Firm gold prices

A total of 14 hallmarking centres had been established and more than 600 jewellers had been certified under the scheme so far, said information posted on the Ministry's website. Meanwhile, gold price continues to hold firm in the wake of political trouble in Libya and uncertainties in other oil producing countries. With crude oil ruling high, it is difficult to see gold prices coming down right now even though in the Kerala market it is the lean season.

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