GJC said that according to the recent data taken from the BIS website, there are 940 assaying and hallmarking (A&H) centres spread in 245 districts across India and the number of jewellers registered with BIS are 31,585. However, the percentage of districts in several key Indian states without hallmarking centres is very high.
There is no presence of hallmarking centres in 488 districts. 66.58% of the country’s total area has no hallmarking centres. 245 districts have hallmarking centres but they are concentrated only in and around the urban area or clusters where there is heavy concentration of jewellers. It is an admitted fact that only 8% of the entire country has the access to assaying and hallmarking centres.
Mr. Ashish Pethe, chairman, GJC, said, “There are various operational and procedural issues in relation to implementation of the mandatory requirement, which if unaddressed will create an obstacle for compliance of the hallmarking requirements. This will also severely affect the jewellery industry, leading to drastic consequences such as cessation of business, loss of livelihood, litigation and unnecessary waste of time and energy. Mandatory hallmarking in its current state has the potential to affect the livelihood of millions of people and will lead to huge disruption in the century’s old jewellery business. Due to COVID-19, the jewellery business is already suffering. In this backdrop, mandatory hallmarking should be postponed by at least an year till the infrastructure is in place.”
GJC that BIS should consider setting up A&H Centres within a radius of 10 kms from the location of a jewellery store. Given the on-going COVID -19 pandemic and the fact that various parts of the country continue to be in a lockdown scenario, GJC said that “we understand that establishing fully functional A&H Centres prior to the June 1,2021 seems highly unattainable. Hence, “we recommend that the implementation of the Order is postponed to June 2022 so that the infrastructural requirements are fulfilled,” said GJC in its representation to the government
There are many states / Union Territories where there are no A&H Centres like Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and Lakshadweep. Given that the number of A&H Centres are noticeably low, jewellers from districts in which there are no A&H Centres, will have to transport their gold articles to the district where such centres are present. This poses an additional risk of transportation and creates a substantial risk of theft and to human life. Also, the cost involved for transportation of precious jewellery articles to the respective A&H Centres is significantly high and authentic and reliable courier services are not available in almost 80% of the districts and talukas across India.