The Cabinet is likely to take up the proposal of mandatory hallmarking of precious metals like gold and silver next week. An official source told The Indian Express that the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act is being amended to enable “recall of products” which don’t conform to standards while at the same time ordering the manufacturers to “compensate the consumers” for sub-standard products.
“The amendments to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act, 1986, will be taken up next week so that the revised Bill can be tabled in the Budget session,” the official said. Currently, hallmarking the jewellery is a voluntary exercise. However, once the Bill is passed, the BIS will work on giving a “unique identification number for every gold and silver jewellery bought and sold and the IT backbone for this system is being prepared and should be ready soon”, the official added.
Also, customers will be able to take their jewellery to assaying and hallmarking (A&H) centres to get them tested in case of doubt about their purity. At present, there are 329 such A&H centres in the country.
For providing the tech-savvy customers a platform to seek redressal of their grievances, the BIS is also planning to introduce a mobile app for filing complaints.
“The mobile app should be ready in a month or two. The consumers would be able to file all the details regarding the product make, date of manufacture etc. A dedicated phone helpline is also being finalised for them. This will ensure consumer protection and at the same time better monitoring of companies too,” the official said.
According to the proposed amendments, while the BIS would become the national standards body of India, it would also empower the BIS to bring in more products under its ambit for mandatory certification for standards.
There are 19,000 Indian standards while 9,500 are specific product-related standards. The government has made it mandatory for 120 products to get certification and “around 100 more products will be included which affect public health, environment and are of mass consumption.”