Jewelers across the country went on a nationwide strike on Monday against the new gold hallmarking rules implemented by the Center recently. The All India Gem Jewelery Domestic Council (GJC) claimed that barring large companies, most of the jewelery shops remained closed in protest against the government’s norms for mandatory hallmarking of new gold jewellery. The strike took place on the call of around 350 associations of jewelers.
Jewelery associations are against the government’s Hallmarking Unique ID (HUID) system, which they say has nothing to do with the purity of gold, it is just a tracking mechanism.
Dinesh Jain, Director, All India Gem Jewelery Domestic Council, while talking to PTI said that the nationwide strike against the HUID system has received a good response. Shops are closed for a day. However, shops in Tamil Nadu and Kerala remained closed till 12.30 pm on account of Onam festival.
Jain said the protesting jewelers would submit a memorandum to the district collectors against the gold hallmarking rules. The mandatory hallmarking of gold jewelery is the purity certification of the precious metal. This rule has come into effect from June 16 in a phased manner. The government has identified 256 districts in 28 states and union territories for the implementation of the first phase.
Last week, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Director General Pramod Kumar Tiwari urged jewelers’ associations to call off the strike, saying the implementation of gold hallmarking has been extremely successful so far. BIS is implementing the Gold Hallmarking System in the country.
According to the protesting jewelers’ bodies, the earlier process of hallmarking gold was better than the new HUID system. The new system is against the principle of ease of doing business.
Jewelers’ bodies fear that the data being uploaded in the name of the new HUID system may be used by the government to crack down on jewellers. Jain said there is a practical problem with implementing the HUID system.
He says that suppose a wholesaler has 50 kg of gold hallmarked jewellery. A retailer comes to him and buys one kilo of jewellery. It takes only a few minutes to deliver the stock but hours to generate the bill for each jewelery with HUID.
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