The All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) has opposed the national standards body Bureau of Indian Standards proposal to issue a certicard for the jewellery retailers in metropolitan cities for every piece of jewellery sold. In a letter written to Hon. Minister of Consumer Affairs Mr. KV Thomas, GJF's Chairman Mr. Haresh Soni has called the proposed BIS Hallmarking move 'cumbersome', 'impractical', 'expensive' and 'time consuming' and earnestly requested the policy makers to take the jewellery industry into confidence while framing rules or changing them. GJF has always supported BIS initiatives in improving the Hallmarking system in India and has made several representations to the Ministry and Director General of BIS to explain some industry apprehensions on the matter.
Mr. Haresh Soni, Chairman, GJF, said, "GJF has always cooperated with BIS but the proposed move to make jewellers in metros issue a certicard with each piece of jewellery along with its photograph and unique identification mark is highly unviable and not customer-friendly. The cost of each piece of jewellery will increase due to the additional cost burden of Rs. 125-150 for issuing one certicard. In case of mass produced jewellery, it is impossible to hallmark each piece of jewellery and issue a certicard for each one of them."
Mr. Soni pointed it out to the Minister that "It is practically an uphill task for the jeweller to maintain thousands of such certificates in jewellery stores and retrieve the same at the time of delivery of the product to the customer. This process will in fact discourage the jewellers to avoid hallmarking jewellery as it is expensive and these Centres may also not follow the standard procedures, which may lead to unhealthy practices. This will put additional burden of vigilance on BIS. As discussed earlier, many Hallmarking Centres do not have the facility of Hallmarking but have been allotted licence and marking jewellery at their free will. In some case, A&H licence has been issued to jewellers, which will defeat the cause and purpose behind Hallmarking."
In his letter, GJF Chairman also pointed out to the Minister that BIS had formed two Committees to improve the Hallmarking system in the country but the first meeting of the above Committees were held separately on two different dates! Mr. Soni recommended that the two BIS Committees should be merged and a joint meeting should be held so as to get a complete picture of the situation on ground. Moreover, a key point here is that Hallmarking Centres should reject the jewellery in case if the jewellery is found of below standard.
Bachchraj Bamalwa, Director & ex-Chairman of GJF, said, "Certificates will surely bring trust. But trust for only metro consumers? Why does the government not implement the law across the country at one go? Metros constitute 25-30 per cent of jewellery sales. Attempts to sell even legitimate jewellery items bought elsewhere will be difficult even in consumers' urgent need of money. Hence, many consumers' emergency will be affected badly despite having adequate jewellery wealth in store. For jewellers, however, it will have a multiplier impact. They hold between 5,000-10,000 pieces of ornaments of various types in inventory every time in festival seasons. Certificate with every item would mean equal number of careful paper handling, which is impossible." The need of the hour is to tighten the bolts on hallmarking centres. Hallmarking process has to be completely overhauled before taking a step further. It is the hallmarking centres and the process which should be fine tuned. It is my earnest request to the Hon. Consumer Affairs Minister to take the hallmarking process in India to take it to the next level by making it mandatory for all hallmarking centres to be enable compliant so that a piece of jewellery hallmarked in India can be accepted by any other country in the world. It is not so at present. We firmly believe that jewellers and the industry can only survive if consumers are protected and we are determined to protect the consumers.
GJF has already unveiled the Trust Mark Model (TMM), a unique 'Business Excellence Model' initiative that will help G&J members to grow their business and become more efficient. The Trustmark is exclusively designed by ISOQAR for GJF. It is an exclusive model for business growth through implementation of systems & processes & practices for growth and managing risks.