The Centre has announced that from March 31st, it will be mandatory for all gold jewellery and artefacts sold in the country to carry a unique identification number known as Hallmark Unique Identification Number (HUID). This move is aimed at ensuring quality standards and consumer satisfaction as India endeavors to become the world’s third-largest economy.
To support the HUID mandate, the Department of Consumer Affairs is planning to increase the testing infrastructure available at the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and its recognized labs to 10 times its current capacity. The government has also announced an 80% concession in marking fees for micro-units across various products and an additional 10% concession for all units in the North East to assist businesses in complying with the order.
The government’s aim is to establish India as a market of quality by making consumers aware of how to identify quality products instead of buying cheaper products being dumped. Stakeholder consultations are currently underway for 663 products for which Quality Control Orders (QCOs) will be implemented. The government is also planning to establish quality standards for sectors such as construction, electronics, automobiles, and durables.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) had made hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts mandatory in June 2021 to enhance the credibility of the jewellery and customer satisfaction through third-party assurance for the marked purity of gold and consumer protection. Starting from April 1st, 2022, jewellers will only be able to sell 14, 18, and 22 carats of gold jewellery and other items that have been certified by BIS for their purity.
The hallmarking process involves verifying the gold content in jewellery and artefacts by engraving a Hallmark Unique Identification Number (HUID) on each piece of jewellery at an authorized Assaying & Hallmarking centre. The HUID enables consumers to trace the source and quality of the gold. This move is aimed at protecting consumers from fraud and ensuring uniform standards of gold quality across the country.
Consumers can easily check whether their jewellery is hallmarked by looking for four symbols: the BIS logo, purity in carat, identification mark or number of the hallmarking centre, and identification mark or number of the jeweller. Jewellers who violate this rule could face a penalty of five times the price of the jewellery or one year imprisonment, or both. However, jewellers can continue to buy back old gold jewellery without a hallmark from consumers.