‘Gold hallmarking centres should be rigorously checked’

New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) Aiming to boost the standard of gold hallmarking in the country, there should be more rigorous monitoring and checking of the centres by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), a top offcial of the World Gold Council (WGC) said here on Thursday.

“Till date even hallmarked jewelleries are not that credible in India. It is not fool proof as the original BIS policy has intended it to be. To make hallmarking more credible there should be independent checks by BIS of the hallmarking centres. The enforcement should be much more rigorous,” WGC managing director (India) Somasundaram P.R. said.

He also released a report, ‘Developing Indian Hallmarking – A roadmap for future growth’, which stated that an increased confidence in Indian gold has the potential to increase the country’s gold exports from an existing $8 billion to $40 billion by 2020.

Somasundaram said only 30 percent of Indian gold jewellery is currently hallmarked. There are widespread differences in purity and an average under-caratage of anywhere from 10-15 percent.

“Hallmarking centres should increase and should be present in all geographies. Data about hallmarking centres should be made public and more customer awareness drive should be take,” he added.

“The government should incentivise companies for starting a hallmarking centre.”

The report stated that Indian households own 22,000 tonnes of gold and around 600 tonnes of it is used in jewellery production each year.

“A credible hallmarking system with a widespread presence of assaying and hallmarking centres is essential for both the gold jewellery industry and for the implementation of a successful monetisation scheme,” Somasundaram said.

“Hallmarking is to jewellery what ‘know your customer’ norms are for financial services it is essential to the success of the jewellery industry in a world where consumers seek transparency, quality and consistency and is critical to building consumer trust and confidence,” he added.

“It is a fundamental requirement if the industry wants to have a bigger role in the aMake in India’ ambition and eventually position India as “jeweller to the world’. In addition, the quality of gold would be a critical element for the success of the gold monetisation scheme.”

India has around 400 hallmarking centres. Tamil Nadu tops the list of BIS recognised assaying and hallmarking centres, followed by Kerala.

He mentioned that discrepancies arise across the jewellery sector as some 80 percent of high value items are hallmarked, but for medium and low valued category only 10 percent is hallmarked.

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