India’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs , Food & Public Distribution based on extensive consultations with key stakeholders of the trade has exempted Gold Jewellery Exports from the mandatory hallmarking that comes into effect from 16th June, 2021. From June 16 sale of hallmarked jewellery should begin and retailers are strictly forbidden to sell non-hallmarked items thereafter.
Piyush Goyal, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution announcing the Key decisions of Mandatory Hallmarking post the meeting with Expert Committee on 15th June said , “ Mandatory Hallmark certification of Gold Jewellery is good for both customers and business. Constructive suggestions are always welcome and implementation should be effective.”
Colin Shah, Chairman, GJEPC, said, “I would like to thank Shri. Piyush Goyal for accepting the recommendations put forth by GJEPC in the mandatory hallmarking scheme coming into effect from 16th June, 2021. This has come as a major relief for the jewellery manufacturers as jewellery exports are now exempted from the Hallmarking scheme. In a welcome move, Kundan, Polki and Jadau jewellery along with export and re-import of jewellery as per the Trade Policy of Government of India, Jewellery for International Exhibitions, and Jewellery for Government-approved B2B Domestic Exhibitions are also exempted from mandatory hallmarking. This is a welcome step towards ease of doing business”
Jewellery exporters heave a sigh of relief as the Govt. has accepted their recommendation and exempted jewellery meant for exports. Explains K Srinivasan, Convener, Gold Jewellery Panel, GJEPC, “As Indian hallmarked articles do not have acceptance outside India, any legal interpretation that requires an exporter to comply with the hallmarking provisions wholly or partially, would have increased the transaction costs in the export stream, making gem and jewellery exports unviable.”
It’s a monumental decision for the growth of the industry and all the view points have been considered before finalising it. It is really a positive sign as government has made certain relaxation’s making it viable and easy to amend. “We have to understand that consumer protection is of utmost importance and this decision shall help us to flourish our industry as a whole while strengthening customer confidence in the yellow metal,” opines Saket Keshri, Ratnalaya Jewellers, UP.
The Govt. has included all the recommendations and amendments put forth by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council :
- * As exports are exempt under Hallmarking, Copy of Export order will not be required for this exemption as that is not the current practice if some exporter is supplying year round to his/her regular buyer abroad.
- * Various export activities as per following that are permitted under Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) will be exempted from Hallmarking.
- * Export and reimport relating to Export Promotion Tours and Participation in Overseas Exhibitions as allowed under Para 4.46 FTP r/w Para 4.80 of Handbook of Procedures.
- * Re-import of rejected Jewellery under Para 4.52 FTP r/w Para 4.91 of HBoP.
- * Consignment exports and reimport under Para 4.53 FTP r/w Para 4.93 of HBoP.
- * B2B local exhibitions, which are organised within India for promoting and facilitating trade.
- * Exquisite handcrafted jewellery of Kundan, Minakari, Polki and Jadau, Thewa jewellery should also be excluded.
No immediate concerns
According to Pratap Kamath, Abaran Timeless Jewellery, Bangalore, “The BIS authorities have ironed out all immediate concerns. There are two primary aspects which need to be addressed - dearth of assaying and hallmarking centres across India and the responsibility of errors in hallmarking. The industry needs more clarity about these two topics. We are located in a metro city and therefore, are not directly affected by the former point of concern. On the whole, these steps seem to be good for now.”
Hallmarking is going on since the past 6-7 years and is not a new concept for Indian industry. “As a company, we follow 100% Hallmarking policy since years now to ensure our customers get what they pay for. I feel it is a very good move by the government as it guarantees the purity of gold and safeguards the consumer’s interest,” explains Aditya Pethe, Director, WHP Jewellers. With hallmarking made compulsory, no customers would be cheated with regards to the purity of gold.
However, the current hallmarking infrastructure is still not upto the mark. "There are not many hallmarking centers at all locations and the select few who are there are not sufficient to tackle the load of the entire industry. We hope that we soon have more centres created so that even the smaller players can easily get their products hallmarked. This will ensure that the policy is successfully enforced discouraging black and grey marketing of gold. As a brand, we believe transparency is the first step towards empowering a customer. We have been one of the first brands to introduce hallmarking in eastern Uttar Pradesh and we are glad that Government is making it mandatory. Mandatory hallmarking is a welcome step which will only boost customer confidence in buying jewellery and reducing consumer frauds at the same time,” explains Vaibhav Saraf, director, Aisshpra Gems & Jewels, UP.
Among the many difficulties that jewellery business owners are facing in hallmarking their products major ones include: lack of assaying and hallmarking centres in India. Remarks Tanya Rastogi, Director, Lala Jugal Kishore Jewellers & IBJA “It is an important move and a very required move to organize the industry and to reinforce the trust in buying gold in our country which is not always so clear. That said, a lot of compliances are to be followed here and the Government should facilitate it so that we as an industry, do not find it difficult to adhere to these compliances. Every jeweller will suffer some or the other losses in this process as each of them has some or the other inventory that is of various caratage, which now has to be melted and cast in caratage, relevant to hallmarking standards. Due to the pandemic, the industry already has suffered losses and this move will be some additional losses for us. As it is for the larger good, we will bear this one as well but a lot of small players who are already struggling to survive may have difficulty adapting. We are in complete support of this initiative but for it to be successful, Government has to also facilitate more hallmarking centres.”
Issues will be resolved
The concerns which are present today, can be resolved over a period of time. And as convenience and experience sets in the G & J sector will be able to adapt to the hallmarking procedures accurately. Explains Jay Mehta, Director, Pooja DIamonds, “This is a positive move by the Government which would benefit the customer and the jeweller as well. Transparency is very important to safeguard the consumer’s interest. This move will encourage organized retail and create a level playing ground retaining players who are genuine.” Snehal Choksey, Director, Shobha Shringar Jewellers believes that this move will enhance the image of the industry as a whole and the veil of suspicion and doubt will fall off.
Inadequate A & H facilities
Informs Anand Prakash, Abhushan Jewellers Agra, “There is still no clarity on the onus of faulty hallmarking. My firm view is that it should lie with the hallmarking centre. Scrapping of stringent rules is a very positive development from the negotiations as it would have led to complications and intrusion into jewellers’ work domain.”
Concludes Pradeep Agarwal, Bajinath Ram Kishore Jewellers, Kanpur, UP, “Mandatory hallmarking was postponed for a long time, the authorities have given us enough time to put our act together and get the jewellery hallmarked. Now too they have not forced upon their mandates with an iron first, they have given us enough time. I welcome this move, which is surely in the larger interest of the industry by winning the trust of our clients. It eliminates all underhand practices and creates a level playing field in terms of competition as well.”