By Rutam Vora
Surat-based diamond exporters are facing tough time competing with other Asian majors including Bangkok and Hong Kong. High prices of imported rough diamonds, increased duty on gold imports and lack of incentive for diamonds and diamond jewellery exports has brought the diamond industry under a tight spot.
"We feel being neglected as the finance minister seems to have entirely ignored this large industry in his budget speech. This industry holds about 25 per cent share in India's total foreign earnings. Yet in the present situation of global weakness, government has not given any support," said Dinesh Navadia, president, Surat Diamond Association (SDA).
According to industry insiders, rough diamond prices have already increased over the past one year and continue to surge further in 2013. In addition to that, a hike in duty on gold imports earlier this year has put additional burden on the diamond jewellery makers.
"Our diamond jewellery is becoming less competitive in the international market. This is mainly because of the increase in gold import duty and costly raw material. Hong Kong and Bangkok have emerged strong competitor for Indian diamond jewellery business," said Praveen Nanavati, a leading diamond exporter from Surat. As per the data provided by Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), India exported 51.8 million carats of cut and polished diamonds during April-March 2011-12, which has reduced from 66.6 million carats in 2010-11.