Gold hallmarking is a purity certification of the precious metal and is voluntary in nature at present.
The Centre, in November last year, had announced that hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts would be made mandatory across the country from January 15, 2021.
The government had given jewellers more than a year to shift to hallmarking and register themselves with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
“Jewellers had made a request to extend the time. We have extended the deadline from January 15 to June 1, 2021, in view of the disruption in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis,” Paswan told reporters in a virtual press conference.
From June 1 next year, jewellers will be allowed to sell only 14, 18 and 22 carats of gold jewellery, he said.
More on Covid-19
The All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (AGJDC) and the India Bullion and Jewellers Association had demanded the extension of the deadline.
“Due to the lockdown, jewellers have lost almost three months for sales and operations. It will take another 3-4 months before sales get back on track. It is highly likely that they will be left with jewellery with no hallmarking,” AGJDC vice-chairman Shankar Sen had said recently.
The BIS is already running a hallmarking scheme for gold jewellery since April 2000, and around 40 per cent of gold jewellery is being hallmarked currently. So far, 28,849 jewellers have been registered by BIS.
According to the BIS, the mandatory hallmarking will protect the public against lower caratage and ensure consumers do not get cheated while buying gold ornaments and get the purity as marked on the ornaments.
India is the largest importer of gold, which mainly caters to the demand of the jewellery industry. In volume terms, the country imports 700-800 tonne of gold annually.