India could emerge as global diamond trading hub: Modi

Govt has made policy changes to enable rough diamonds to enter and exit duty-free.

The Dollar Business Bureau 

Lauding Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India (GJEPC) for playing a pivotal role in making India a global hub for diamond cutting and polishing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that India’s giant stride in gems and jewellery exports could complement its potential to emerge as an international diamond trading hub.

Addressing the International Diamond Conference in Mumbai, Modi said, “India has made rapid strides since the GJEPC was set up 50 years back. India is now the world's largest manufacturer of cut and polished diamonds, and gems and jewellery sector is one of the leading sectors in the country in terms of the value of exports as well as employment generation.”

India’s diamond manufacturing and exports have grown multifold in the last four decades. From just about $28 million in 1966-67, exports reached $1 billion in 1982-83, $2 billion in 1987-88, $10 billion in 2003-04, $20 billion in 2007-08 and almost $40 billion in 2015-16, accounting for nearly 15% of the country’s total merchandise exports.

Modi said the government has made policy amendments to enable rough diamonds to enter and exit and duty-free for the purpose of viewing. The Special Notified Zone at the Bharat Diamond Bourse has already shown good results since its inauguration in 2015.

“Many of the most reputed international names in the diamond industry have conducted over 244 days of viewings. My intention is to make India, which is already the cutting and polishing hub, into an international diamond trading hub,” the prime minister said.

"Our goal is to transform India in one generation. Since taking office, this government has placed emphasis on many transformative initiatives. 'Make in India' is one of them. Our aim is to make India a preferred destination for manufacturing,” he said.

The prime minister underlined that as part of the government’s vision to transform India into a “Skilled India”, his government would continue to provide training to the sector employees.

“About 4.6 million people are employed in the gems and jewellery sector. Out of this, the diamond industry alone employs around one million people. Thus, the sector is a major example of the potential of Skill India and Make in India,” he said.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Mar 20, 2017 12:00 IST