500 jewellery manufactures of Rajkot to go on strike today

Jewellers say the new requirement will slow down the business cycle and infringe on privacy of customers.

Around 500 jewellery manufactures of Rajkot will observe a day-long strike on Monday, protesting the introduction of hallmarking unique identification (HUID) number system by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BSI) for jewellery.

Jewellers say the new requirement will slow down the business cycle and infringe on privacy of customers. According to a statement by the Gems and Jewellery Association, Rajkot (GJAR), its members will observe a token strike on Monday to protest against the introduction of HUID for each and every article of jewellery from June 16.

“A lot of customers purchase jewellery on the basis of their trust in a jeweller built over a period of time… Getting a jewellery article hallmarked takes a day. But getting HUID for an article is taking a full week as the process involves uploading files on a BSI portal, which is not able to handle the traffic, This, in turn, is slowing down the business cycle,” said Jagdish Soni, president of GJAR, an association of around 500 jewellery manufacturers of Rajkot.

Soni said that HUID would make tracking of every jewellery article possible and therefore infringes on citizen’s right to privacy as well as on the businessmen’s right to guard their business secrets. “Once an article has been assigned an HUID, no changes can be made in that piece as HUID will contain details such as length, weight, purity standards, etc. This will prevent jewellery retailers to tweak design of a piece as per preference of customer at the time of sale,” Soni added.

The BSI had introduced the HUID stating that will make jewellery items traceable and protect consumers against cheating while purchasing hallmarked jewellery.

Soni also alleged that the move will benefit organised jewellery chains and branded retailers. “If a small jeweller gets one kilogram of gold jewellery made but can’t put it on display as HUID takes long time, artisans working in jewellery manufacturing will be affected. This will also inflate prices,” the president added.

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