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“Let us focus on ease of interface”, says Russell Mehta, newly elected Vice Chairman of GJEPC
Russell Mehta, CEO of Rosy Blue (India) Pvt. Ltd and Vice Chairman of GJEPC
By: Diamond World News Service
Jan 5 2016 6:00PM
Reference: 12516  

In October 2015, GJEPC made much awaited official announcements of the election of a Praveenshankar Pandya as new chairman and Russell Mehta as vice chairman of GJEPC for the period 2015-2017. The new chairman and vice chairman have a number of immediate responsibilities to tackle. Kavita Parab spoke with Russell Mehta to know about his vision for his tenure at GJEPC.

Q1) What are your thoughts about GJEPCs endeavors in last five years?

I think GJEPC has done a lot of work in the past 5 years and I, truly command all what they have achieved. The height of this achievement we saw when we had our Prime Minister Shri. Narendrabhai Modi and President of Russia, Mr. Putin addressing the World Diamond Conference at New Delhi. This signals the importance of our industry in the minds of the present government. While GJEPC’s job is to better the policies of the Government of India to facilitate our trade, it is not easy and it takes a lot of time and effort to move all the various departments at the government level. It takes a lot of time also for government to think through and accede to our requests. Hence, some issues find quick closures and some issues like the ‘presumptive taxation’ is yet to find favor in the government policies. All we need to do is to build on the good work done by the GJEPC in the last 5 years and build on the same.

I must also disclose here that while I was invited by the GJEPC for some of the meetings and issues in the past on case-to-case basis, I was never part of the GJEPC as was not elected as the committee member and hence, my knowledge on all the endeavours undertaken by the Council may be limited.

I have just taken over the office as Vice-Chairperson recently and I am beginning to see all the good work put in by the previous committee and the staff of the GJEPC.

Q2) Where do you think the council needs to focus more, keeping in mind the last five years trajectory?

As mentioned earlier, our focus will be to ‘ease the interface’ with the Govt. of our members and ‘promote’ gems and jewellery out of India. With my Chairman, we will identify 4-5 key projects which will make some major impacts and provide thrust to our industry in these difficult times. While our internal discussions are still on and we haven’t ‘finalised’ these key projects but it can be ‘presumptive income tax’ regime, be it catalyst for generic advertising of diamonds, resolving banking issues for small and medium companies, etc.

Q3) It is a common sentiment in the gold section that the council is more for the diamonds and not for jewellery and gold segments. Your comments?

As I mentioned earlier, I am new to the GJEPC and its working. I am not aware of such sentiment, at least from what I have seen in the last month or so. Even if it so, it will be my Chairman’s and my endeavour to work with the same enthusiasm and vigour for all segments of the council and see that such feelings do not persists.

Q4) What will be your first aim as council vice chairman?

My only aim is to support my Chairman in all what he is trying to achieve for the Council.

Q5) Message to the industry…

I would like to quote Shri. Ratan Tata here:
“What I would like to do is to leave behind a sustainable entity of a set of companies that operate in an exemplary manner in terms of ethics, values and continue what our ancestors left behind.

We should be in our business to give the best returns to our shareholders with highest ethics and morals for which our industry has been an example of.”

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