Gold hallmarking mandatory in India from 1 January, jewellers fear ‘GST-type’ slowdown

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The Narendra Modi government has decided to make BIS hallmarking mandatory for gold jewellery from 1 January 2020, ThePrint has learnt. The move, said officials at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, would help ensure consumers don’t get cheated into buying inferior quality ornaments. The central government’s decision comes days ahead of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 8 December deadline for India to comply with the gold benchmark and issue a quality control order. Failure to comply could result in restrictions on Indian gold products by other WTO signatory countries.

According to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act, 2016, jewellers are required to mark gold under three measurements 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat. A carat is a measurement indicating the proportion of gold in an alloy out of 24 parts. So, an 18-karat gold is 18/24 parts gold. The government plans to implement gold hallmarking across the country in four phases, starting with the metro cities. According to a senior official at the consumer affairs ministry, jewellers are likely to be given a year’s time to hallmark their gold products, according to the standards set by the government.

The government is also planning to open 861 hallmarking centres across the country to help more jewellers register themselves for the BIS hallmarking licence. At present, there are only 28,000 jewellers across the country who have registered with the BIS, the official further said.

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