Emerging Power of India

India’s Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi during his recent visit to the US said, “We have moved on from scriptures to satellites. The world has now started to believe that the 21st century belongs to India. We offer 3Ds to the world i.e. Demographic dividend, Democracy and Demand. I would like to add one more D and i.e. De-regulation. My policy is that the government has no business to be in business.”

Surely then the global industrial leaders must be aspiring to take the advantage of India’s huge market size and its cheap, educated and young workforce as well as purchasing power of economically swelling middle class. The global diamond industry which has been passing through a bad phase these days is also hopeful for its recovery through Indian markets. The mining giant De beers has set its eyes on India’s huge and growing young consumers. In its recently published ‘Insight Report’ the company has made a special mention of India upon which the global diamond industry is depending to regain its lost shine.

On the other hand, now coloured gemstone miners and traders are also keen to explore Indian markets where consumers’ preferences are changing. New trends and preferences are emerging among jewellery consumers of India. Coloured gemstones are back in fashion, with more jewellery pieces studded by rubies, sapphires and emeralds are seen replacing plain and natural diamond studded jewellery.

Earlier in July 2015, Gemfields had unveiled its plans to aggressively explore Indian markets of coloured gemstones. Mr. Dev Shetty, COO of Gemfields says, “India has remained a key market place for Gemfields and will continue to be one of our main focus regions in future. We enjoy 20% of the Indian market share of coloured gemstones at present and now we are looking at increasing it to 30% in 3 to 5 years.”

But use of coloured gemstones in Indian jewellery is only 1% in the country’s USD 40 billion domestic jewellery industry. Mr. Shetty says, “In order to increase this market share in India, we are planning to build a brand to sell the gemstones. We also want to make the consumers aware about the benefits of certification and establish transparency that will lead to consumer confidence. Gemfields spends 15-20% on its marketing in India.”

Even Thailand is keen to resume the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India under which the country used to export its gemstone studded jewellery @ 1% duty only. But now India has banned jewellery imports from Thailand for so called ‘misuse’ of the incentive by some Indian traders under FTA till retroactive check is conducted by the Thai side. Indian authorities also argued that the ban was necessitated as it was ‘harming’ the domestic jewellery industry.

Vice President of the Thai Gem & Jewellery Traders’ Association (TGJTA) and Indian-Thai Diamond & Colorstone Association Mr. Atul Jogani says, “I do not understand how the jewellery imports from Thailand under FTA can harm India’s domestic jewellery industry which has a size of almost USD 25 billion. Thailand’s jewellery export to India is worth USD 174 million only. I don’t know why Indian businessmen are so afraid of this. If you have strength, should this small amount of imports from Thailand affect your business? I don’t think so, because it is just like a small drop of water in the ocean!”

‘We are here to compete and not to harm anyone’s interest. So we are keen to resume bi-lateral ties between the two countries under FTA. India is a huge market place for jewellery and has great potentials for coloured gemstones also. When Indian culture, food, costumes and festivals are varied in colours, why is India’s jewellery white? Thailand’s precious gemstone and jewellery industry has matured up in recent years. Besides, the coloured gemstones provide a cheaper option in comparison with natural diamonds.”

So, it is rightly said by Mr. Modi that India used to be placed under margin earlier, now every foreign country puts India in central place for its developmental plans.

Posted by Suresh Chotai