The Gem & Jewellery Skill Council of India (GJSCI), the specific industry initiative responsible for training and skill upgradation under the government sponsored countrywide umbrella organisation that addresses all industry sectors, convened a meeting of various stakeholders in the gem and jewellery industry at the campus of the Indian Institute of Gems & Jewellery (IIGJ) in Mumbai today.
The meeting was called at the behest of former Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Chairman Sanjay Kothari, who has taken over as Chairman of the GJSCI. He told the meeting that while the Indian industry was a major supplier of generic polished diamonds, coloured gemstones and jewellery around the world, it was yet to establish itself as a go-to source for the big industry jewellery brands.
Kothari stated his vision of making the Indian workforce shine with ‘4 Cs’ — make them confident, committed, cooperative and courteous.
Invitees to the event included the trade media, training institutions, gem-testing laboratories, technology providers and universities that offer courses in industry skills.
The GJSCI was formed in 2012 under the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and currently functions under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE). It covers skilling under all the areas and functions of the industry such as diamond processing, coloured gemstone processing, jewellery manufacturing, wholesale, retail and exports.
The GJSCI is constituted by industry bodies like the GJEPC, the domestic-focussed Gem & Jewellery Council (GJC), which was formerly known as the All India Gem & Jeweller Trade Federation (GJF), the Jewellers Association (JA) of Jaipur and the SEEPZ Gems & Jewellery Manufacturers' Association (SGJMA) from Mumbai’s SEEPZ free zone.
Kothari noted that even in difficult times, while the generic industry suffered and sought a way to keep its head above water, brands and the high added value players in the industry continued to show growth. India, he lamented, is not a primary source for the world’s big brands. To counter this, he observed, the Indian workforce needed to develop a skill level that made it shine with the ‘4 Cs’ he outlined.
“Branded product is primarily sourced from manufacturers in Italy, Hong Kong and China,” he said, adding, “India needs to break into that club and the only way to do so is to exponentially improve the way it works from designing through manufacturing and quality control. This leap can only come with a massive initiative to train and upgrade the skills of the industry’s workforce.”
Kothari frankly addressed the issue of first having to overcome resistance within the industry, where retailers and manufacturers felt that a highly skilled and certified workforce would only lead to an increase in production costs. He paraphrased a quote from the founder and chairman of Indian technology giant Infosys, observing, “We have to demonstrate to industry enterprise owners, the benefits of having people smarter than them working for their organisations. We have to show them it is the only way to achieve consistent growth.”
GJSCI Executive Director and CEO Sanjay Garg went through a detailed presentation of the initiatives the organisation has unrolled to date and the progress made in overcoming hurdles in various specific areas.
A question and answer session after the presentation saw the GJSCI viewing a variety of issues that needed tackling, brought up by various stakeholders. Taking part in the discussions were retail management expert Dr. Gibson Vedamani and GJC Director of Finance Manoj Jha.