|Photo: The Economic Times|
Saturday, March 07, 2015
GJF seeks Centre’s support to promote gems and jewellery industry
GJF praised the 'change in attitude' of the new government which has stimulated several positive changes in policy such as abolition of 80:20 Rule, inclusion of the gems and jewellery sector in Make in India programme and opening of gold loans to the trade. GJF said it is hopeful that customs duty reduction on gold imports will happen soon as the government is well aware that higher duties will lead to smuggling which the trade wants to get rid of.
Haresh Soni, Chairman, GJF said, "As part of Government's 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas' mantra, we welcome proactive government measures of introducing the gold monetising scheme and indigenous manufacturing of gold coins with symbol of Ashoka Chakra. Gold monetisation scheme should offer opportunity for inclusive growth of sector which includes banks, jewellers, refiners and traders but we await the fine print."
Also, the proposed gradual cut in corporate taxes is expected to benefit listed jewellery companies "We hope the National Skilling Mission will take up the challenge of enhancing skills of over 2 crore people in the gems and jewellery sector as well as encourage youth entrepreneurs to enter the business", he added.
With respect to 'Make in India' initiatives, GJF has urged the government to make the country a global hub by creating many domestic jewellery manufacturing parks where shared infrastructure facilities can reduce overheads and reduce costs to final customers. "If the gems and jewellery sector which contributes around 6% to the GDP and 14% of exports (and employs the 2nd largest number of people after the software industry) gets industry statues, then getting land for factory units in Government owned sites such as SEZs/ MIDC areas, etc. will become easier", said the federation.
GJF has been pursuing with the Government to focus its policy measures on development of the Gems and Jewellery industry and formulate a comprehensive gold policy for India and make India a global jewellery hub. GJF has urged the Government to develop infrastructure to improve skill sets through upgradation and skill development by promoting and standardizing professional vocational courses, introducing fee subsidies, offering scholarship programs, reviving dying arts and crafts, more training.
It has sought an increase in investment in technology to improve health and working conditions as well as labour productivity. It has asked the Government to provide adequate thrust for skill and infrastructure development through easy financing, incentives, subsidies, facilitation of land allocation, and supply of utilities. The intent is to train 4 million (40 lakh) people in the sector till 2022 as the sector is facing shortage of skilled manpower. The industry lost nearly 400,000 skilled manpower post economic recession in 2008, out of which, an estimated half returned while the remaining half migrated to other industries including textile and agriculture farming.
GJF represents over 6,00,000 players comprising manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, laboratories, gemologists, designers and allied services to the domestic Gems & Jewellery industry. The Gems and Jewellery industry is a hand crafted and labour intensive with over 1 crore strong labour force engaged in the manufacturing of jewellery industry in the domestic sector.