The government has indicated that it is planning to make hallmarking along with carat count mandatory for the gold jewellery sold in the country from January.
"We believe that a gradual roll-out of mandatory hallmarking would prove most beneficial to India, structured in three phases. The first phase could cover India's 22 largest cities, from Mumbai and New Delhi to Nagpur and Patna," the WGC said in its report here.
"The second phase, beginning a year later, can cover around 700 district headquarters. The third phase would begin in (next) one or two years to roll out programme across India," the report said.
The report, `Mandatory hallmarking: Global practises and road map for India', is about the current state of gold hallmarking in India and a holistic study of the country's gold market.
WGC India Managing Director Somasundaram P R said: "The gold industry in India is at the cusp of transformation, as transparency, standards and infrastructure begin to define the next phase of reforms. It is time to take hallmarking forward along the path to mandatory enforcement, leaving no room for debate around purity and safeguarding the interests of the consumer."
According to the WGC report, despite the introduction of hallmarking standards in India 17 years ago, there are only 15,000 licensee jewellers supported by some 500 assaying and hallmarking centres (AHCs) which is inadequate.
Retailers need to take responsibility for hallmarking in India in the short-term and in the long-term manufacturers should assume responsibility for hallmarking, the report said.
All major cities should have at least one AHC to ensure that hallmarking can be effectively rolled out in metropolitan centres, it said.
To effectively supervise the industry, the Bureau of Indian Standards needs to increase its capacity 60-fold, the WGC report said.