New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) India's first gems bourse is coming up in Jaipur at an initial investment of Rs.50 crore (Rs 500 million/9 milllion USD) to facilitate organised trading of gem stones that would garner a sizeable business from abroad.
Work on setting up the exchange will begin in another six months. Siddharth, joint secretary in the commerce and industry ministry, had met state government officials recently to expedite the matter.
There are two diamond bourses - one in Mumbai and another in Surat - in the country, but no gems bourse. There are around 250,000 workers engaged in the task of cutting and polishing of gem stones in Jaipur alone.
"We never had a gems bourse earlier as the industry was very unorganised. It became organised around a decade ago and that was the point of time, we started thinking about a gems bourse," Rajeev Jain, chairman, Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), Rajastan chapter, told IANS.
The GJEPC would organise things for setting up the bourse, Jain added.
"The project will entail an investment of Rs.50 crore," said GJEPC vice-chairman Pankaj Parekh.
The government has asked traders to get together and it is expected that the government would "allocate the land within six months," said Sabyasachi Roy, executive director, GJEPC. He confirmed that the construction will take 18-24 months to get completed.
There are around 700 to 1,000 gems companies in the country, which can set up offices in this bourse, Jain said, adding that the bourse will facilitate people who are coming from abroad.
India imports around Rs.800-1,000 crore (140-180 million USD)) worth of raw gems, mostly from Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Vietnam, as there are no gems mines in India. And it exports around Rs.1,500 crore (over 270 million USD) of finished products (after cutting and polishing) annually, especially to Thailand, Hong Kong, the US, Europe, Canada and Japan.
With the gems bourse, Jain expects exports to go up by 25-30 percent.
The commerce ministry is trying to add extra sheen to the gems and jewellery industry by adding convention centres and common facility centres in various states.
In another such proposal, the government has approved a convention centre in Mumbai for gems and jewellery. "The state government is yet to allocate land for it. It will require around 20-30 acres," Roy told IANS. He said a convention centre is necessary to increase the business volume in the country.
Roy said many business flourishes once they do business-to-business meetings and exposition, and a convention centre in the financial capital of the city will certainly provide a boost to the gems and jewellery business.
There are 13 common facility centres which are being set up in Gujarat. "Each of these common facility centres will come up in each district in the state. Two agencies have been appointed to do the detailed project report (DPR) of this project," Parekh said.
Surat-based Indian Diamond Institute and IL&FS are preparing the DPR. The state government will allot the land for this project and funds will be provided by the central government. Each centre will require around one-third of an acre and will cost Rs.9 crore, he said.
(Aparajita Gupta can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
-- Indo-Asian News service