Centre revives plan to make hallmarking of gold jewellery mandatory; Gold and silver prices soar

The centre has revived its intention to make hallmarking mandatory for gold jewellery and plans to notify the regulation in WTO in a week time, a top official was quoted in a Press Trust of India report.

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Director General Surina Rajan, however, assured the jewellery traders that the process would be done in consultation with all stakeholders. “The (central) government once again intends to make hallmarking of gold jewellery mandatory in the country. A notification to WTO is expected in a week time to seek comments,” she told PTI.

India being a signatory to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), is required to notify the WTO before introducing any mandatory regulation, she said.

The digitisation of hallmarking would be a “crucial component for making it mandatory”. The BIS has engaged IIT-Mumbai to execute the digitisation programme for gold hallmarking and it is expected to be completed within a year.

The initiative will connect all hallmarking centres with BIS control and a hallmarking code will be generated only after completion of a fool-proof system, she explained. Currently, there are about 800 hallmarking centres across the country and only 40 per cent of jewellery is hallmarked.

Meanwhile gold prices this week appreciated by Rs 50 to hit a new high of Rs 38,820 per 10 gram at the bullion market on account of consistent buying support from jewelers. Silver also soared by Rs 1,140 to Rs 45,040 per kg on fresh offtake by industrial units and coin makers.

Traders attributed the gain in gold to increase in the domestic spot market demand. However, a weak trend in the international market restricted the gains, they said. Besides, the decline in equity markets also aided the rally in the precious metal as investors moved towards safe-haven assets such as gold, they added.

Gold prices traded weak with international spot gold prices but continue to hover around $1,500 an ounce. In New York, spot gold was trading lower at $1,499.20 an ounce and silver was down at $17.08 an ounce.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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