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Why Are Jewellers In The Country On Strike Today?

New Delhi: Gold jewellers across the country are on a ‘token strike’ today. They are unhappy with the new hallmarking rules and specifically the norms around the Hallmarking Unique ID (HUID). The call was taken by the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC).

The strike is being supported by 350 associations and federations from all four zones of the entire gems and jewellery industry, according to GJC.

Jewellers say they cannot accept the new HUID as it has nothing to do with the purity of gold. The BIS, on the other hand, feels the new HUID will improve gold purity. Jewellers think it is just a tracking mechanism.

“The one-day token strike is our peaceful protest against the arbitrary implementation of HUID (hallmark unique identification number), which is impractical and unimplementable,” Ashok Minawala, past Chairman of GJC, said in a statement, PTI reported.

The jewellers say that the new HUID system HUID is not fool-proof as there have been lots of issues such as double HUID on the same piece, same HUID on multiple pieces of jewellery etc.

Mumbai Wholesale Gold Jewellery Association President Prakash Kagrecha was quoted as saying that jewellers have welcomed the hallmarking. However, the new HUID process involves cutting, melting, and scraping of jewellery, which is intended to sell. “The entire process of hallmarking is defeated when jewellery has been damaged,” he said, news agency ANI reported.

Chennai Jewellers Association questioned how privacy would be maintained if the HUID is in place. Speaking to ANI, Chennai Jewellers Association Chief Uday Vummidi said, “We will protest as we face inconvenience in the process of HUID. We promote hallmarking as it signifies purity. However, HUID signifies traceability. Who is selling the product and who is buying the product…all will be recorded. The end customer becomes a part of the process. Buying gold is a culture in India. You cannot be asking all customers that give your phone number, valid id, etc,” Livemint reported,

“If we collect this information, we must be ensured that the privacy of a customer is maintained properly. With the ongoing Pegasus row, we also think about the privacy of our customers. I want the government to assure us that the privacy of the data will be maintained,” Vummidi was quoted as saying.

Nearly 4 lakh pieces of jewellery are being hallmarked each day now, Director-General, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Pramod Kumar Tiwari was quoted as saying.