The government on Tuesday said it is fully prepared to implement mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts from June 1, 2021.
Gold hallmarking is a purity certification of the precious metal and is voluntary in nature at present.
The Centre, in November 2019, had announced that hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts would be made mandatory across the country from January 15, 2021.
The government had given jewellers more than a year to shift to hallmarking and register themselves with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
But the deadline was extended for four months till June 1 after the jewellers sought more time to implement in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"No extension has been sought. BIS is already fully energised and involved in giving approvals to jewellers for hallmarking,” consumer affairs secretary Leena Nandan said in a virtual press conference.
Elaborating more, BIS director-general Pramod Kumar Tiwari said, "From June, we are fully prepared to implement (mandatory hallmarking). And at present, we have received no proposal to extend the date."
So far, 34,647 jewellers have registered with the BIS.
"In the next one-two months, we expect registration of about 1 lakh jewellers," he said, adding that the registration process has been made online and automatic.
From June 1, jewellers will be allowed to sell only 14, 18 and 22 carats of gold jewellery.
The BIS is already running a hallmarking scheme for gold jewellery since April 2000, and around 40 per cent of gold jewellery is being hallmarked currently.
According to the BIS, the mandatory hallmarking will protect the public against lower caratage and ensure consumers do not get cheated while buying gold ornaments and get the purity as marked on the ornaments.
India is the largest importer of gold, which mainly caters to the demand of the jewellery industry. In volume terms, the country imports 700-800 tonne of gold annually.
Photograph: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters