BARC Current Affairs

BND-4201: India’s first home-grown high purity gold reference standard launched

India Government Mint (IGM), a unit of Security Printing and Minting Corp of India Ltd has launched India’s first home-grown high purity gold reference standard –Bharatiya Nirdeshak Dravya (BND-4201).

The BND-4201 is reference material for gold of ‘9999’ fineness (gold that is 99.99% pure with impurities of only 100 parts-per-million). It will be beneficial to the consumers and public at large to ensure purity of gold.

Key Facts

BND-4201, the high purity gold reference standard has been developed through collaboration between IGM, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) — Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-National Physical Laboratory (New Delhi) and National Centre for Compositional Characterisation of Materials (Hyderabad).

The gold reference standard is indispensable in gold and jewellery hall marking. This reference will also be useful for Collection and Purity Testing Centres to certify purity of gold deposits under gold monetization scheme.


India despites being second largest markets for gold after China, goldsmiths in the country were depended on imported reference gold bars (mostly imported was sourced from Canada and Switzerland) to check purity of their biscuits, coins and jewellery. BND-4201 standard reference material will help to minimise dependency on foreign countries and add to Make in India campaign, saving foreign exchange.

The BND-4201 standard gold bar are 25% cheaper than the imported version. It will also help jewellers to move towards more instrumental methods rather than conventional fire assay methods for testing purity of gold, which time consuming and non-environment friendly as poisonous gases are released.


BARC develops portable kit for detection of Chromium contamination of water

The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has developed a kit for onsite determination of toxic Hexavalent Chromium Cr(VI) in drinking water.

The detection kit is simple, user friendly, quick and cost effective kit for onsite determination of Cr(VI) in drinking water. It meets Indian standard IS10500 for drinking water as well as US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criterion.

Key Facts

  • The detection kit provides the much needed solution to measure the level of Chromium contamination in drinking water and tap water, rivers, lakes as well as in ground water.
  • The detection procedure of kit involves adding specific reagents in specified amount to the water sample and identifying the developed colour.
  • The colour develops within 5 minutes and the distinction can be made with naked eye. For ease of comparison a colour chart is provided with the kit.
  • Based on colour chart, water samples can be immediately categorized as safe or toxic for drinking from Cr(VI) point of view.

Advantages of detection kit

  • Onsite detection and instantaneous results.
  • Eliminates need of sophisticated instruments for analysis.
  • Low investment on infrastructure for production of the kit.
  • Easy availability of raw materials.
  • Has very good accuracy for the intended purpose.
  • It is cost effective and cheap compared to imported onsite detection kits.


  • Chromium is widely used in various industries like steel, leather, chrome plating, paint manufacturing, wood preservation etc.
  • Untreated effluents from these industries cause widespread contamination of water and has been reported in several parts of the country.
  • Chromium in the environment primarily exists as Trivalent Chromium Cr(III) and Hexavalent Chromium Cr(VI). The Cr(VI) is more toxic compared to Cr(III).
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified Cr(VI) as carcinogenic and can cause stomach ulcers, cancers and severely damage kidneys and liver.
  • As per Indian standard IS10500 for drinking water, maximum permissible concentration of Cr(VI) in drinking water is 50 microgram per litre. The US EPA recommends a still lower permissible concentration of 10 microgram per liter.