There are no gold badge centers in the northeast and 5 UT: official data

New Delhi, December 8 () There is not a single gold testing and marking center in six northeastern states and five Union territories, while the government aims to make the seal mandatory for gold and jewelry from 2021, according to official data.

Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Ladakh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep, currently do not have gold testing centers and hallmarks, the data showed.

The gold seal is a certification of purity of the precious metal and is currently voluntary. The Bureau of Standards of India (BIS) has formulated standards for marking gold jewelry in three grades: 14 carats, 18 carats and 22 carats.

The government recently announced that it would make mandatory the marking of jewels and gold objects throughout the country as of January 15, 2021 to guarantee the purity of the precious metal.

In the absence of distinctive centers in 11 states and UT, a senior official of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs said that the testing centers and badges are created by private entrepreneurs and is a market-driven activity where the entrepreneur makes the decision to open a center based on commercial viability as assessed by the entrepreneur at that location.

Currently, there are 877 analysis and marking centers in 234 district locations and 26,019 jewelers have taken the BIS record, the official said.

Maximum marking centers are found in Maharashtra (123) followed by West Bengal (102), Tamil Nadu (100), Gujarat (74), Kerala (69), Karnataka (50), Andhra Pradesh (43), Rajasthan (42 ) and Delhi (41), showed the data.

Since April 2000, the BPI is executing a scheme to promote the marking of gold jewelry and, as a result, about 40 percent of gold jewelry is currently being marked.

After announcing plans to make the gold seal mandatory, Paswan, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vila, had said: We are aiming to open seal centers in all districts of the country and register all jewelers during this period of a year.

He had also said that a mass awareness campaign would be launched.

India is the largest importer of gold, which mainly caters to the demand of the jewelry industry. In terms of volume, the country imports between 700 and 800 tons of gold per year.

According to data from the World Gold Council, the cumulative demand for gold from India decreased to 496.11 tons during the first nine months of 2019 from 523.9 tons in the same period last year. The demand for gold for the whole year 2018 was 760.4 tons. The cumulative import of gold decreased to 502.9 tons in the first nine months of 2019 from 587.3 tons in the corresponding period of the previous year. Gold imports from India were 755.7 tons in 2018. LUX MR MR

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