jewellery in India is voluntary and there are 409 Bureau of Indian Standards recognised Assaying and Hallmarking
(A&H) centres in the country, Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.
"Presently the hallmarking
jewellery is voluntary," Minister of State for Consumer Affairs CR Chaudhary
said during Question Hour, amid vociferous Opposition protest.
The Minister said as on October 25, there were 409 BIS
centres in the country.
The setting up of A&H
centres is a market driven activity which depends on the commercial viability as assessed by the entrepreneurs.
To provide impetus to the hallmarking
activity, government provides financial assistance to the A&H
centres in deficient locations, he said.
Chaudhary said to protect consumer interest with respect to purity of hallmarked jewellery, surveillance audit of the A&H
centres is carried out.
"Besides, market samples are drawn from licensed jewellers to ensure compliance to relevant standards. Further, in the BIS
Act 2016, enabling provisions have been made to make hallmarking
of precious metals articles mandatory," he said.
The Minister said in 2001, out of the 120 samples taken in 8 cities, 89 samples had no hallmaking, 11% recorded average shortage in purity and 38.6% recorded highest purity shortage.
In 2006, a total of 162 samples were collected in 16 cities of which 90% samples had no hallmarking, 13.5% recorded average shortage in purity and 44.6% recorded highest purity shortage.