Hallmarking of gold and silver 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.
The setting up of A&H centres is a market driven activity which depends on the commercial viability as assessed by the entrepreneurs.
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.