It is indeed a veritable combat: One is an industry veteran, an institution in his own right: Shailesh Sangani, founder of Priority Jewels. He has been associated with GJEPC for many years. He is backed by dedicated work that he has put in for GJEPC. The other contestant is young and dynamic Saiyam Mehra. The duo have the industry divided over their own support.
Speaking about his action plan Shailesh Sangani said, “The first and foremost task I will be accomplishing is to increase exports. I will devise every plan required to achieve this target. One way is to invite more and more buyers from all over the world in our country. I plan to do so by conducting exhibitions in India and abroad. We have promised PM Narendra Modiji that in the coming ten years the gold gems and jewellery exports with reach 75 billion dollars in I am going to be an integral part of the team which will chase this target.”
Saiyam Mehra has worked with GJC since last three years and headed several projects including: PMI and the upcoming GJS show. On the professional front he is director of Unique Chains. Saiyam has drawn up an ambitious action plan which includes: doubling gems and jewellery exports in two years, promoting brand India by including ‘hand-made jewellery tag’ for exported jewellery, correcting duty-free gold weightage mandate, among others.
Assuring the industry that he would leave no stone unturned to bring the very best to this industry Saiyam said, “This industry needs a new perspective which will determine its course in the near future. It will affect the fortunes of hundreds and has the potential to achieve the unthinkable, when it comes to developmental strides that the industry needs. I promise to do my best and given an opportunity will help the industry escalate to newer heights.”
The gems and jewellery industry is eagerly awaiting the upcoming GJEPC elections. Other posts which are contesting this election include: Regional Head – Northern: Anil Sankhwal, Ashok Sheth. Silver Panel: Ram Babu Gupta, among others.
Issues to be addressed:
DW spoke to lot industry players and has listed some immediate issues which require attention for the industry to grow and come out of the current phase of stagnation:
- Steps to improve exports: The Indian gems and jewellery industry expected that the US-China trade deal will bring some good news for it, however that was far from what happened thereafter. The gems and jewellery industry in China, Thailand and other South-East Asian countries flourished and Indian industry witnessed a decline in exports. It is high time, this situation is corrected. The GJEPC New Committee will have to devise strategies to combat this situation and ensure that exports improve. It is also affecting government foreign exchange revenues and therefore a sound leader is what the industry needs at present.
- Overcome labour problems: The gems and jewellery industry is a labour intensive industry. Since past few years, as exports have declined some manufacturers laid off their skilled labour. Many jewellery artisans found other occupations and are reluctant to come back to this industry. This is creating and acute dearth of skilled labour in this industry. GJEPC New Committee is expected to find a long-standing solution for this problem.
- GST: GST regulations for gems and jewellery industry need to be reworked. 18 per cent GST is charged on repairs, other professional and technical business services – this is arguably the biggest revenue earning segment for the industry, next only to exports, which is expected to shell out the highest tax rate. GJEPC New Committee will have to voice these concerns to the Indian government and create a better, more effective think tank and pressure group if needed.
- Jewellers are a dying breed: The next generation no longer wants to keep doing what their forefathers have done in the past, they want to diversify into other lesser competitive, comparatively relaxed professions. The industry offers no incentive for the younger generation to take up this profession. GJEPC Committee has to find solutions to take steps to ensure that youth finds this profession attractive.
- Value addition is less: India has a long and glorious history of jewellery manufacturing and sales. There’s hardly any challenge left for the new generation to overcome. The value addition and creativity is on a steady decline. In the higher interest of the industry and the greater good of all stakeholders, the GJEPC New Committee will have to find a solution to empower individual jewellers to overcome this roadblock and inspire younger entrants into the business to do more creatively inspiring work.
- Banks and FIs are unwilling to lend money: Banks and financial institutions are ignoring the whole industry and are reluctant to offer loans. In absence of adequate capital, gems and jewellery businesses are stagnated and unable to flourish the way they should. The GJEPC New Committee must find solutions for this problem.
These were some of the most pressing problems, there are several others too, which will surface over time; and the GJEPC New Committee should be proactive to resolve all of them effectively.
All in all, we wish that the New Committee works in the highest interest of this industry which has immense potential to change the fortune of India, on the whole.