From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Hallmark Gold
Mains level : Not Much
The Government has made it mandatory for the introduction of a Hallmark Unique Identification (HUID) number in every piece of jewellery.
What is HUID?
- HUID is a six-digit alphanumeric code, or one that consists of numbers and letters. It is given to every piece of jewellery at the time of hallmarking and is unique for each piece.
- It is being implemented by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in a phased manner.
- Hallmarking & HUID are mandatory for 14-, 18- and 22-carat gold jewellery and artefacts.
- Before buying any piece of gold jewellery, the buyer should check all these three symbols.
Implementation of HUID
- Symbols: The hallmark consists of three symbols which give some information about the jewellery piece. The first symbol is the BIS logo; the second indicates purity and fineness; and the third symbol is the HUID.
- A&H centre: Jewellery is stamped with the unique number manually at the Assaying & Hallmarking centre.
Why is it being introduced?
- Authentication: HUID gives a distinct identity to each piece of jewellery enabling traceability.
- Credibility: It is critical to the credibility of hallmarking and to help address complaints against adulteration.
- Registration: In HUID-based hallmarking, registration of jewellers is an automatic process with no human interference.
- Prevents malpractice: It also helps check malpractice by members of the trade.
- Data privacy: It is a secure system and poses no risk to data privacy and security.
- Financial tracking: HUID provides traceability and financial tracking of purchases.
Issues with HUID
- Time-consuming: It is cumbersome to number each piece of jewellery
- Intricate jewellery: HUID cannot be engraved in tiny pieces.
- Unnecessary expense: Also it will increase cost for consumers.
- Infrastructural issues: there needs to be ample AH Centres.
What does this mean for the consumer?
- Consumer protection: Given that gold plays a big role in the lives of Indians, mandating gold hallmarking is aimed at protecting consumer interests.
- Assurance of quality: It provides ‘third-party assurance’ to consumers on the purity of gold jewellery.
- HUID concept is innovative, out-of-the-box thinking and more than makes up for stepping in late with mandatory hallmarking.
- It is the sort of global leadership India has and needs to show in gold-related reforms.