Poor Pay in India’s Gem Trade: ASSOCHAM

New Delhi: Salaries in India’s gem and jewellery sector are half of those in other industries, according to a report that highlights a labor shortage driven by rock-bottom pay and dangerous working conditions.

Workers in the industry earn an average of $3,740 (INR 252,000) per year, according to a study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and the Thought Arbitrage Research Institute. The figure compares with $7,550 in the pharmaceuticals industry, $7,330 in capital goods and $6,574 in the electronics sector.

“Limited” health and safety compliance has also eroded interest in joining the gem and jewelry industry, the report said.

Among the problems faced by workers are over-exposure to lethal chemicals and gases that can cause ailments such as lung tissue damage, kidney damage and lung cancer. These factors make the industry less attractive to people looking to start a professional career. Smaller and relatively disorganized industry players use less modern technology and lower-quality materials for manufacturing, restricting the sector’s ability to advance.

“Sustainable growth of any industry needs a continuous supply of new talent with skills and ground-breaking ideas,” argued D. S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM.