Shining industry

Print edition : March 16, 2018

DIAMOND traders in the Mumbai-Surat belt range from small operators worth a few crores of rupees, who deal in tiny rough diamonds, to the biggest houses in the business such as the now fallen Gitanjali Group. The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) of India estimates that there are three lakh players in the industry, the majority of whom are small units. Its market size is about $60 billion as of 2017 and is expected to reach $100-110 billion by 2021-22. It contributes 29 per cent to the global jewellery consumption.

Reports from the GJEPC say that the gem and jewellery sector plays a significant role in the Indian economy by accounting for about 7 per cent of the gross domestic product and 15.72 per cent of India’s total merchandise exports. Total Indian exports stood at $224.89 billion in April-December 2017. Of this, the contribution of exports of cut and polished diamonds was $17.2 billion.

The sector employs approximately 50 lakh people, making it a labour-intensive industry. On the basis of its potential for growth and value addition, the Indian government declared the gem and jewellery sector a focus area for export promotion. In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said that India should be a “preferred destination for manufacturing” instead of a cutting and polishing hub. Hopefully, Nirav Modi has not jeopardised these plans.

Anupama Katakam

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