Indian Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu formally launched the country’s Domestic Council for Gems & Jewellery at a function in Mumbai on Tuesday and announced that the new body would be operational with elected representatives by May 1.
The new council’s constituents will be existing industry bodies that each cater to specific sectors. Its launch follows a third meeting of gem and jewellery industry bodies with the government on January 16 in Delhi which resulted in a decision to go ahead with the initiative by month’s end.
An ad hoc committee has been set up to take the new body through to operational status with an elected representation. It is headed by Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Chairman Pramod Agarwal and consists of office bearers from the Mumbai-based All India Gems & Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC), the Association of Gold Refineries and Mints (AGRM) headquartered in Cochin, the Bangiya Swarna Shilpi Samiti from Kolkata; the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) in Mumbai, the Bhartiya Swarnkar Sangh from Jaipur, the Imitation Jewellery Manufacturers Association (IJMA) from Mumbai, the Mumbai-based India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA), the India Jewellers Forum (IJF) from Amristar, the Karnataka Jewellers Federation based in Bangalore, the Odisha Jewellers Association from Cuttack, the Rajkot Gems & Jewellery Association, the Tamil Nadu Jewellers Federation (TNJF) from Chennai and the Uttar Pradesh Sarafa Association, Kanpur.
The Minister commented, “The launch of the Domestic Council for Gems & Jewellery is a significant step and one amongst a series of several structured reforms undertaken by our government to make the industry more organised and unified. We have followed a democratic process and given representation to key jeweller, manufacturer, miner and artisan/craftsmen associations from different geographies and industry segments.”
Articulating the government’s intention to let the industry build up and run the new representative body itself, he added, “The government will create and facilitate and leave it to the industry to take it forward.”
Agrawal said, “We welcome the Government’s decision to form Domestic Council for the Indian gems and jewellery sector. This will help to organise our unorganised and small-scale domestic jewellery industry and help it to scale new heights. As envisaged by the Union Minister, my efforts as the convener will be to seek a consensus in opinion to make this Domestic Council a national body which belongs to all and works to fulfil the aspirations of all small and big associations from across the country.”
He added, “The GJEPC is happy to offer all support and guidance in the formation of an inclusive, democratic and self-sustainable council. It is important for the industry to have one voice and one body. The Domestic Council will help create 3 million more jobs and bring new artisans and craftsmen into the business.”
The idea of a Domestic Council for gems and jewellery dates back to 2005-06 when the Sivaraman Committee was constituted to study the entire gem and jewellery sector and submitted a report to the Union Finance Ministry. The responsibility was eventually given to Union Commerce & Industry Ministry and then the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the gem and jewellery sector was a good example of his ‘Make in India’ initiative and wanted jewellers to come up with a strategy for increasing India’s global share of the hand-made jewellery market. In February 2018, the National Institution for Transforming India (Niti Aayog) panel, in its report on the need for a comprehensive gold policy, had also proposed the setting up of a dedicated domestic council for the gems and jewellery sector.