The Concerns of WGC (World Gold Council)
Amid concerns in the lack of credibility of India’s hallmarked jewelleries, a top official from the World Gold Council has said that the Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) should adopt a rigorous approach in its monitoring and checking of the centres and bring about a much needed boost in the country for the standard of gold hallmarking.
The Managing director of the World Gold Council in India, Mr Somasundaram PR said that even though the BIS started out with the intentions of creating a foolproof policy, there have been major lapses and hallmarked jewelleries in India still lack credibility. To bring about a semblance of credibility into the hallmarked jewelleries, BIS should start conducting independent checks across the hallmarking centres. These independent checks will not suffice if they are not backed by rigorous enforcement.
Somasundaram had also recently released a report titled 'Developing Indian Hallmarking - A roadmap for future growth' in which he states that if there is an increased confidence in Indian gold, it would potentially bring about a tremendous increase in the volume of the country's gold exports and raise it from the existing $8 billion to $40 billion by the year 2020. In his estimates, Somasundaram says that the percentage of gold hallmarked in India stands at a low 30% and there is a widespread difference in the purity of gold with strong under caratage that averages anywhere around 10 to 15%
He also added that the scenario faced by the Indian Gold Jewellery market is of a complex nature. There is no sense of uniformity and a huge populace of jewellers, around (400,000) are of a small scale and operate independently. Moreover, the manufacturing bases of many operators in addition to being small are also highly fragmented
Measures to Improve Credibility
It comes as no surprise that the need of the hour is to increase the number of hallmarking centres and ensuring that centres are present across the different geographies and also to increase the public and customer awareness of the drive along with incentives for companies to start hallmarking centres.
The report also stated that there is currently over 22,000 tonnes of gold across owned by Indian households of which only about 600 tonnes are utilized in production of jewellery every year.
Hallmarking is an integral component of jewellery making and is to jewellery, what Know your customer is to banking. Hallmarking is imperative to providing a sense of quality, transparency and consistency to customers and help build trust among the consumers.
If India as a country would like to achieve the status of Jeweller to the world it needs to ensure the quality of gold that allows for successful gold monetisation. Currently India has around 400 hallmarking centres with majority of the BIS recognized centres present in the state of Tamil Nadu followed by Kerala.
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