India’s Own Gold Standard ‘BND 4201’ Developed

Gold reference standard is indispensable in gold and jewellery hall marking and assumes greater importance in the gold monetisation scheme of the Indian government. At present, the gold reference material is imported.

India now has its own standard bar of gold that is 99.99% pure and can be used to verify the purity of gold sold in shops.

Last November, the India Government Mint (IGM), a unit of the Security Printing and Minting Corp of India Ltd, signed an agreement with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to develop the first gold standard.

The NPL is the repository of standard units — such as the kilogram, the second, and the centimetre — in India and provides calibration services.

So far, 200 gold bars — each 35 mm long, 15 mm wide and 1.5 mm thick — have been made.

Called as the Bharatiya Nirdeshak Dravya (BND 4201), the bar, weighing 20 gm and with the dimensions of a ‘Parle-G’ biscuit, will mean that Indian jewellers will no longer need to import gold bars to check the purity of ornaments.

While the bars will be made by the IGM, technical aspects, such as measurement, would be done by the BARC and certifying the purity of the bars would be the responsibility of the NPL.

Most of the gold references that India imported were sourced from Canada and Switzerland. The new bars being developed were 99.99% pure with impurities of only 100 parts per million.

The gold bar would be 25% cheaper than the imported version and as a business (reference gold bars being bought by dealers for tests) could be worth nearly Rs. 1,000 crore per annum.