India’s jewelry trade has outlined a plan to increase exports by about 40% over the next five years, Praveenshankar Pandya, chairman of the country’s Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), said Friday.
The council has prepared a document titled “Vision 2022” to present to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, laying out the steps necessary to grow the industry’s annual exports to $60 billion from its current level of $43 billion, Pandya said at a press briefing during the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) in Mumbai.
One of those measures is to improve the industry’s infrastructure by creating jewelry parks across the country, which would serve as “one-stop” locations for the entire production process. The first is planned for Mumbai, he added.
Other aspects of the program include modernizing smaller jewelry manufacturers’ equipment, enhancing the industry’s design capabilities by collaborating with international designers, and improving its merchandising.
Pandya dismissed concerns that the country’s new goods and services tax (GST) would limit exports, noting that the council was in an ongoing dialogue with the government to smooth out procedural issues arising from the new policy. Among those is the matter of charges for transporting diamonds between states — for example, from Surat in Gujarat, where most of the diamond manufacturing takes place, to Mumbai in Maharashtra. That issue will be resolved in the next two months, he said.
Since GST took effect on July 1, he added, trading has returned to normal, as it did after the government implemented its demonetization policy in November.
“People thought these policies would diminish the industry, but it didn’t,” he said. “Rather, we feel these decisions are enabling a level of transparency that we couldn’t achieve before.”
He noted that electronic payments had increased as a result of demonetization, and that cash transactions were being limited. Diamond dealers at IIJS agreed, pointing to a notable shift away from cash.
“Cash used to be king in the diamond industry,” said one supplier at IIJS, who requested anonymity. “That’s just no longer the case.”
The show is running through Monday at the Bombay Exhibition Centre.