GJEPC had a virtual meet with Mr. Suresh Kumar, the new Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, on 1st September and apprised him about the gems and jewellery industry and the various initiatives taken for growth of exports from India.
Thanking the Joint Secretary for this opportunity, Colin Shah, Chairman, GJEPC said, “The Indian gem and jewellery sector is most significant for the economy as it generates employment of 4.28 million and achieves value addition of 29.7%. The industry has a 2.3% share in the manufacturing output of the country.”
Shah further added that, “GJEPC has commissioned a study to the National Council of Applied and Economic Research (NCAER) to identify the gem and jewellery clusters on a pan-India basis, especially to bring micro, small and medium enterprises at par with international standards.”
Vipul Shah, Vice Chairman, GJEPC, said, “India can become the world destination for diamonds just like Antwerp if we address two major challenges that the industry faces today. First, other than viewing in Special Notified Zones, sales should be allowed and turnover tax should be around 0.16%. Second, the import duty on cut and polished diamonds should be reduced from 7.5% to 2.5% in order to promote trade.”
Sabyasachi Ray, Executive Director, GJEPC said, “In the current scenario, the global gems and jewellery companies are hunting for space relocation, and if India needs to catch up, we need to address the issue fast as such investment not only brings FDI but also generates employment as gems and jewellery is one of the most labour-intensive industries in the world.”
The withdrawal of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) by the USA was another topic discussed with the Joint Secretary. Mr. Colin Shah informed that Indian exports of gems and jewellery to the USA have gone down from US$2.2 billion to US$1.3 billion over the past decade.
GJEPC also suggested the various measures and reforms to take this industry to the next level, including the introduction of an e-commerce policy for the sector, the need for a special stimulus package similar to the leather or textile industries both of which are labour-intensive; the extension in timeline should be provided on SEZ-focused issues as exporters have been impacted.
Mr. S. Suresh Kumar appreciated GJEPC’s elaborative and informative presentation and assured to look into the issues raised with concerned departments.