The jewelers will sell only 14, 18, 22 carats of gold jewelry with distinctive since January 2021: Paswan

NEW DELHI: Jewelers can only sell jewelry and objects with badges made of 14, 18 and 22 karat gold as of January 15, 2021 and the violation of this will attract the penalty and imprisonment of one year, the minister said Tuesday of consumer affairs, Ram Vilas Paswan.

Jewelers have been granted one year of time to register with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and implement the mandatory seal of gold jewelry to guarantee the purity of the precious metal, he told reporters.

Consumers should be careful with four brands in hallmarked gold jewelry : BIS brand, karat purity, name of the test center and jeweler identification mark.

A notification to make mandatory hallmarking of gold jewelry from January 15, 2021 will be issued on January 16 by the consumer affairs ministry.

Gold hallmarking is a purity certification of the precious metal and is voluntary in nature at present. The BIS is already running a hallmarking scheme for gold jewelry since April 2000 and around 40 per cent of gold jewelry is being hallmarked currently.

"This will become mandatory from January 15, 2021. We will give one year time for implementation. Jewellers will be allowed to sell only 14, 18 and 22 carat gold jewelry ," Paswan said.

Instead of ten grades earlier, hallmarked gold jewelry will now be available in three grades of 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat, he said.

Currently, there are 892 analysis and marking centers in 234 district locations, and 28,849 jewelers have registered BIS.

We are aiming to open marking centers in all districts of the country and register all jewelers during this one-year period, he said, adding that a mass awareness campaign will be launched.

The minister also said that mandatory marks will protect the public against the lower carats and ensure that consumers are not deceived while buying gold ornaments and obtaining the purity marked on the ornaments.

A senior BIS official, H S Pasriche, said criminal measures will be taken against jewelers for violation of the mandatory marking rule. The penalty would be Rs 1 lakh to five times the value of the merchandise and also one year in prison.

The government has not received comments on the draft quality control order for mandatory hallmarking of gold jewelry and artefacts that was hosted on WTO website on October 10, 2019.

According to the WTO world trade rules, a member country must notify a quality control order with the Geneva-based multilateral agency and the process takes approximately two months.

Exporting nations must comply with the BIS quality standards specified for gold in the order of quality control. India is part of the 164-member WTO since 1995.

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. In 2018, the demand for gold was 760.4 tons.

Similarly, cumulative gold imports 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.