05 Jul 2020
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How soon before the diamond workers return?-Diamond workforce of Surat
The labour-intensive diamond industry in Surat is arguably the worst hit in this pandemic lockdown, and industry veterans contemplate whether the workers will return any time soon says R.Sugandha
By: Diamond World News Service
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May 20 2020 11:38AM
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Reference: 24934  

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We have collected bank data of poor workers in the trading businesses. Initially, BDB has promised Rs 5000 per person as relief fund Mehul Shah, Vice President, Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB)Surat, arguably the world’s largest workshop for diamonds has seen an unprecedented lockdown, because of the recent government impositions in order to control the coronavirus pandemic. The city is home to about two million workers in the sector, including skilled artisans. This lockdown has hit diamond traders badly, with every extension announced by the government the blow worsened. Currently, the diamond and jewellery business has come to a standstill. This is a global crisis which every authority is trying to mitigate it in its own way. The uncertainty of the scenario has made it more challenging.

As per Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) data -- India’s imports of rough diamonds are down 22 per cent as compared the first quarter of last year, and polished diamond exports have declined 18 per cent. This has contributed to overall exports falling in five of the past six months, pushing down India’s GDP growth to a six-year low of 4.5 per cent last quarter.

Currently, the prime concern for most business owners is for how long they can continue giving salaries to their staff, without booking any profits. “We have spoken to the government authorities, we are doing the best we can to ensure that diamond workers do not starve,” informs Dinesh Navadiya, regional chairman of GJEPC.

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