To ensure hallmarking of gold mandatory, a Parliamentary panel has asked the government to introduce the Bill to amend the BIS Act in the current session of Parliament. Expedite completion of the formalities and introduce the Bill to amend the BIS Act in Parliament during the current Budget session,” said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Demand for Grants (2012-13) in its 18th report.
Hallmarking of gold, which is voluntary in nature at present, is a purity certification of the precious metal. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), under the Consumer Affairs Ministry, is the administrative authority of hallmarking. In early January, the Cabinet had approved the BIS (Amendment) Bill that aims to expand the ambit of mandatory hallmarking to include more products, including gold. Over 170 hallmarking centers have been recognised in the country by BIS to provide services to small jewellers. So far, the BIS has issued over 9,000 licences to gold jewellers.Gold demand in India, the world’s biggest consumer, is rising and it stood at 933.4 tonnes in 2011.
A senior government official said that the Bill will empower the government to bring in compulsory certification regime.At present, about 77 items, including cement, mineral water and milk products, are certified through mandatory hallmarking under the BIS Act for conformity with expected quality levels, he said.The BIS hallmark, widely accepted by the consumer, gives additional confidence to consumers about the quality of products like gold jewellery.The Parliamentary panel, headed by Vilas Muttemwar, has also recommended the government instructions be issued for display of prices of gold articles by jewellery shops.
This suggestion was made as purity and quality of gold jewellery, that are not hallmarked by BIS authorised centers, are not always commensurate with the value of money paid by the customers, the report said.
Last week, gold prices touched an all-time high of Rs 29,750 per 10 gm in the national capital