Jewellers in Ahmedabad has announced support to Monday’s nationwide strike on the issue of Hallmarking Unique ID (HUID), even as the government urged jewellers to call off the strike.
Jewellers in other cities of Gujarat have also announced they will be on strike on Monday, August 23, against the HUID rule.
The Manek Chowk Jewellers Association, which represents jewellers in Ahmedabad’s Manek Chowk, the oldest jewellery market in the city, issued an appeal on Saturday asking its members to join the strike.
“The association has unanimously decided to join Monday’s strike against the HUID system. The system is time-consuming and will hurt the jewellery industry,” the association’s president Paresh Choksi and secretary Arvind Choksi said in a statement.
Gold jewellery hallmarking has been in force in the country for several years, but it was made mandatory from June 16 in 256 districts where assaying and hallmarking centres have been established so far. The government aims to make hallmarking mandatory throughout the country gradually. Jewellers per se do not have any issue with hallmarking but are opposed to the HUID.
HUID will be a unique alphanumeric six-digit code that will be assigned to each piece of jewellery at the time of hallmarking. The HUID is seen as helping identify the jeweller who sold the jewellery or the Assaying and Hallmarking Centre where it was hallmarked, but the industry’s concern is that the system will add several days to the hallmarking process and have an adverse impact on sales.
“Jewellery sales have been hit hard since March last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, the sharp rise in gold prices has also hurt sales. On the one hand, the government is talking about ease of doing business, and on the other, systems like HUID are being introduced,” said a city-based jeweller, on condition of anonymity.
Separately, Pramod Kumar Tiwari, the Director General of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), said the government was listening to every issue raised by the stakeholders, and the idea of the strike was “uncalled for”.