26 Dec 2008, 1356 hrs IST, PTI
SURAT: The gems and jewellery industry reeling under the global recession has laid off about 1,00,000 workers, an industry leader
"This is for the first time in four decades that the diamond industry is facing a severe liquidity crunch and has laid off 1,00,000 people recently," Gitanjali Group Managing Director Mehul Choksi said here.
Over 1.3 million people and their families depend on the 50-billion dollar Indian gems and jewellery industry that has been hit hard with exports nosediving and imports of rough diamonds remaining suspended for a month till yesterday.
The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), which apprehended 40 per cent reduction in demand, has since withdrawn its call for suspension of imports.
Of the 50 billion-dollar industry, exports account for 20 billion dollar. The country manufactures 90 per cent of the world's diamonds as per the industry players, while Surat alone accounts for 70 per cent.
"But we are passing through a very rough phase with employment of miners and those polishing gems at risk," Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Secretary General Amit Mitra said.
"Value addition with manufacturing of studded jewellery could result in addition of nearly one million workers in the segment in next five years," Choksi said, adding the government should take steps such as setting up a SEZ and increase in interest subsidy.
GJEPC has demanded that the industry, which accounts for over 13 per cent of the country's total exports, should be given dollar support by the Reserve Bank of India. [continues]
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