34th Edition of IIJS Opens in Mumbai

Mumbai: The 34th edition of the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS), now positioned as IIJS Premiere, was inaugurated this morning at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Goregaon East (Mumbai) by Mr Manoj Dwivedi, Joint Secretary, Dept. Commerce, MoC&I, Govt of India and Mr. Alan Chirgwin, VP, Sales and Marketing, Rio Tinto in the presence of Praveenshankar Pandya, Chairman, and Russell Mehta Vice-Chairman, GJEPC.

With over 1,200 exhibitors and 2,200 booths, this is the largest IIJS ever. The organisers said they expected good business at the show with more than 30,000 visitors having already pre-registered through the newly implemented 100% cashless registration system.

Welcoming the guests, Chairman Pandya said that the IIJS has continuously evolved since it adopted its present B2B model about 15 years ago, and the Council has invested in upgrading the facilities and infrastructure at the Exhibition Centre, in the process making it a near world class venue capable of handling this large event.

Though India is known as a world leader in diamonds, Pandya said, not many are aware that the country also has the largest number of persons employed in the jewellery sector worldwide. Most of these work in the handmade segment, and the industry was focused on implementing the vision of the Hon’ble PM, Shri Narendra Modi to transform the jewellery sector and make it the world’s leading exporter-manufacturer by 2022.

The chairman said that a network of jewellery parks in all the key manufacturing centres, providing modern infrastructure and other facilities at one point was needed, adding that the industry expected an announcement from the government in this regard soon.

Pandya traced the history of the partnership between the Indian diamond industry and Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine, and said that together they were able to convert many near gem quality stones into polished that fed the growth of more affordable fashion jewellery across the world.

He said that the stagnation in diamond demand over the last decade could be directly traced to ending of generic marketing in 2007 after De Beers took the decision to stop this with the end of single channel distribution. He welcomed the efforts of the DPA in reviving generic promotions and even praised the increase in budget for 2017, but stressed that it was still not enough.

“We need to raise the amount to at least US$ 100 million,” Pandya said, adding that the GJEPC would support all the DPA’s efforts. Subsequently he announced that the Council had inked a new MoU with the DPA and would enhance its support to international promotions with a contribution of US$ 2 million in 2017.

Mr Chirgwin that he was pleased to be at the 34th edition of IIJS as it was also 34 years since Argyle began its alluvial mining. He said that at that time no one would have foreseen how the partnership between a mine in a remote part of Western Australia and the Indian diamond industry would evolve and grow. Yet it has been a fruitful and rewarding partnership, with Rio having worked with some companies for over a quarter of a century, interacting now with members of the 3rd generation in a few cases.

Expressing the government’s unstinted support to the gem and jewellery industry, Mr Dwivedi said that there was hope that it would flourish and build further on its already spectacular achievements. The government was committed to support all industries that provided mass employment, and said that the G&J industry, especially in the MSME sector had enormous potential to expand and enhance employment levels.

The government was trying to frame appropriate policies and also extend support to the sector in many other ways, Mr Dwivedi said, citing the examples of the Skill India initiatives as well as government backing for training centres, CFCs etc.

Referring to the GST as one of the most important economic reforms since the 90s, he said that industry was poised for fresh growth as a result of this ‘One nation, One tax’ initiative. There were some initial challenges, but once these were overcome, the benefits would be clear.

Mr Dwivedi said that the PM has laid out a vision for the promotion of Indian handmade jewellery in global markets, and called on the industry to upgrade in terms of design and finish to make Indian products internationally competitive.

Thanking all who had worked for the success of the show, Saunak Parikh, Convener, National Exhibitions said that this year IIJS had been further upgraded – with more exhibitors and better services. Coinciding with this, the show has been repositioned as IIJS Premiere and also unveiled a new logo.