Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that India should become an international diamond trading hub in addition to its present status as cutting and polishing hub. Addressing the audience at a charity dinner at the International Diamond Conference in Mumbai through video conferencing, Modi said India has made rapid strides since the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India was set up 50 years back.
He said: “India is now the world’s largest manufacturer of cut and polished diamonds, and gems and jewellery sector is one of the leading sectors in India in terms of value of exports as well as employment generation.”
Modi said India has emerged as the leader in diamond manufacturing and export in the last four decades and exports of gems and jewellery from India account for 15 per cent of India’s total merchandise exports.
“This is one of India’s success stories. From just 28 million dollars in 1966-67, exports reached one billion dollars in 1982-83 and two billion dollars in 1987-88. It crossed 10 billion dollars in 2003-04, 20 billion dollars in 2007-08 and is now nearly 40 billion dollars.” Modi said Indian importers had to go abroad to view and purchase rough diamonds till recently, which reduced the efficiency of the supply chain.
The Prime Minister said amendments have been made to the laws to enable rough diamonds to enter and exit, duty free for the purpose of viewing, and the Special Notified Zone at the Bharat Diamond Bourse, which became operational in November, 2015, has already shown good results.
Modi said only 80 to 90 big merchants used to get access to global rough diamonds by travelling to Belgium, Africa and Israel, and now about 3,000 small and medium merchants have this privilege through the new Special Notified Zone.
“Many of the most reputed international names in the diamond industry have conducted over 244 days of viewings. My intention is to make India, which is already the cutting and polishing hub, into an international diamond trading hub,” he said.
“Our goal is to transform India in one generation. Since taking office, this government has placed emphasis on many transformative initiatives. ‘Make in India’ is one of them. Our aim is to make India a preferred destination for manufacturing,” Modi added.