|India is the original land of diamonds where, as the history goes, diamonds were mined over 4000 years ago along with areas of Krishna and Godavari rivers. India has given some of the most famous diamonds like Koh-i-Noor (105.6 carats), Akbar Shah (116 carats), Archduke Joseph (76 carats) to the world.
Mythology has it that diamonds are tears falling from the Gods’ eyes. But unfortunately ‘Indian Gods have stopped shedding tears’ now since long so diamonds are no more available from Indian soils. But India has today undisputedly acquired a status of the global diamond cutting and polishing centre. Its now official, 14 out of 15 diamonds circulated in the world are cut and polished in India.
|India has not only maintained this top position in the sector for more than 20 years but has also increased its lead over its rivals. A few years back, 9 out of 10 diamonds were cut and polished here and now the official figure, as provided by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) is 14 out of 15 stones are manufactured in India.
|At the inaugural function of India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) Signature in Mumbai recently, Chairman of the GJEPC Mr. Vipul Shah said, “Initially the Signature show was designed as a supplement to our highly successful Jewellery Show IIJS with the prime goal to showcase not just India’s cutting and polishing skills but also to showcase the country’s capabilities to deliver design and creative inputs in jewellery sector. But with the phenomenon growth of Signature within a few years, we are now aiming to showcase our proficiencies to the world in the near future; India will win recognition as a global hub for design and creative inputs.”
“It was established that two-third of cutting and polishing of rough was done in India but, now I am glad to declare here that this two-third figure is now a matter of past. Today 14 out of 15 rough diamonds produced around the world are cut and polished in India,” he added.
|Mr. Shah further said, “India has been passing through very challenging conditions since a year or so, along with some adverse government policies that made us work very hard. Faced with a Current Account Deficit (CAD) of over $85 billion, the Government, in consultation with the GJEPC and other industry bodies had raised the duty structure and brought in the 80:20 rule, under the explicit agreement that these were temporary measures and would be pulled back once the CAD was brought under control. We, as an industry willingly agreed, as we too understood the delicate state of affairs and wanted to help out.”
“Unfortunately, the 80-20 scheme could not derive the intended benefits. The increased duty on the other hand, brought the CAD down from$88 billion to just above $40 billion and to that extent, has really helped our economy to maintain its buoyancy. The downside of this though has been the humungous increase in gold smuggling that has occurred. The only way to counter this is to reduce the import duty once again and thus discourage illegal trade. I am also hopeful that the Government will relax the 80-20 rule and also go a step further by extending the 3% interest subvention scheme to boost the industry and its contribution to the wellbeing of the economy,” he added.
|India has achieved (and maintained till date) this leadership in manufacturing thanks to its highly skilled and cheap labour force and also its keenness to adopt new and sophisticated technology. As a result now polished diamonds are output of a highly scientific and in some cases of small diamonds, it is highly efficient factory process.
India’s next goal is to achieve a status of global diamond trading centre, for which some favourable governmental policies are awaited within next few months.Posted by Suresh Chotai
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