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FICCI International Conference on Gems and Jewellery held in Mumbai
Gem & Jewellery industry is expected to grow from US$45 billion to US$100 billion
By: Diamond World News Service
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Jan 16 2010 1:05PM
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Reference: 4559  

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The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, also known as FICCI, hosted its first international conference on gems and jewellery in Mumbai on 15th January 2010. Themed as “Opportunities led growth,” the conference provided a platform to discuss strategies for growth and opportunities for becoming internationally competitive as well deliberate the issues and challenges facing the Indian gem and jewellery industry. Guest of honor Anita Agnihotri, Development Commissioner, SEEPZ Special Economic Zone released a FICCI-Technopak Knowledge Report “Unlocking the Potential of India’s Gems and Jewellery Sector” at the event.

While pointing that the conference symbolizes FICCI’s commitment to develop the gems and jewellery sector that has considerable potential, Sushil Jiwarajka, Chairman, FiCCI WRC said, “Today, there is a transformation taking place in jewellery market in India. It is changing from being a storehouse of value to being a fashion statement. The consumer expects better transparency, service and more compelling value proposition driven by brand and fashion. At the same time, they are also willing to pay a premium for the right proposition. The key here would be to position jewellery as a lifestyle product. A recent FICCI study revealed that transformation from family owned to professionally managed businesses is the key to success. Reinventing innovation in design, new markets and new technology will help to sustain growth. Adaptability to global trends and consumer preferences will help to increase market share. Transparency will lead to higher growth. Integration of jewellery with fashion is the next step in this world centre. I strongly believe that with the right policy and regulation framework in India could establish India as brand in International market, could increase employment tremendously and create a new breed of entrepreneurship.”

Sushil Jiwarajka also suggested a few recommendations for the benefit of the gem and jewellery sector - industry status to gems & jewellery sector; technology upgradation fund for facilitating the modernization of the manufacturing and design facilities; setting up of special laboratories for boost research and development at important centres in the country; manufacturers should use 60 to 70 percent diamonds in manufacturing its own jewellery have its own jewellery stores in India and abroad.

Mehul Choksi, Chairman, FICCI Gem & Jewellery Committee, observed that India has continued to do well in the cut and polished diamond business at the global level. He stressed on the need to work on this strength and make efforts to increase markets and global market share. Finding cheaper raw materials, rough diamonds and improving profitability through proper branding and marketing strategies, according to him, were the key areas for realizing higher growths in the gem and jewellery sector. Vasant Mehta, Chairman, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, called for concerted action to increase the share of gems and jewellery in the growing wallet of the Indian consumers. He noted that promotional efforts like ‘Anant’ – an exquisite range of single line diamond jewellery launched exclusive for the Indian consumer, would go a long way in promoting diamond jewellery trade in India. Ashok Minawala, Chairman, Projects Committee, The All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation, expressed concern at the proposed draft Direct Taxes Code of the Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India which gives inspectors wide ranging Search and Seizure powers to confiscate stocks of diamonds or bullion during raids. Highlighting the findings of the report, Anil Rajpal, Vice President, Technopak Advisors, predicted that the domestic gem and jewellery industry would grow to US$100 billion by 2015 from its current size of US$45 billion. Ajay Mitra, Managing Director, Indian Subcontinent, World Gold Council, suggested that the players in the industry to go in for product development using a mix of trend forecasting, high levels of technology and skill in manufacturing and finishing, and stringent systems of quality control.

Socialite and jewellery designer Queenie Dhody said, “This industry is the only one that has grown as much as we heard because of the love and passion women feel towards it. We understand and realize the need for marketing this in the right way. We have reached this place because of our feeling for the yellow metal. As a jewellery designer and previously a jewellery buyer, I have seen how much we have grown in this industry today and from completely disorganized way of retail to a very organized form of retail. I think it is because of seminars and conferences like this where everybody brainstorms, makes new policies, and combats problems that we face in the industry.”

The Technical Sessions included Policy & Regulatory Framework, Technology, Innovations in Jewellery Retail, Jewellery Franchising, PR Strategies in Jewellery Marketing, Opportunities, Finance, and Luxury Retail. During the sessions, the desire for setting up of gold exchange, building customer trust and standards, the need for modern technology became known.

Some of the delegates and speakers believe that the conference is very informative and offers lot of valuable insights to the industry. Vaishali Banerjee, Country Manager, Platinum Guild, said, “It is a great initiative. I think it is an important platform to get everyone views. There is so much knowledge within different people in the industry and it is important we can get so much knowledge on one page to chart out the future. I think it is important and should go well.” One of the speakers at the session on jewellery franchising, Vijay Jain, CEO, ORRA, said, “I think it is very interesting. One you get to meet with other people. Therefore, it gives a great platform to exchange ideas. You also get a platform with some your peers to understand their point of view in more structured approach than just a conversation. I also think that the conference associated with an organization like FICCI gives the jewellery industry a far larger canvas on these two basic voices. I think it is a great beginning and they should organize the conference in other cities as well.”

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