By Archana Sharma
The gems and jewellery sector in Rajasthan, already hit hard by the first wave of COVID-19, has now been left worried with the pandemic’s second wave hitting harder, being stronger and more intense in nature. Key industry players have therefore decided to wait and watch as the COVID infection numbers keep surging in the desert state.
Speaking to IANS, Jewellers Association former president Sanjay Kala said, “Earlier, we had plans to organise smaller versions of our mega trade fairs to ensure businesses sail smoothly in tough times by showcasing Kundan Meena, Gold, diamond jewellery separately which earlier were displayed together in one trade fair. However, as of now, we have cancelled our plans looking at the intense situation.”
The industry has already been facing the woes of the pandemic’s first wave, he added.
In fact, the statistics released by the GJEPC confirm that the growth of overall exports of gems and jewellery, cut and polished diamonds and gold declined from April 2020 to March 2021.
While the overall gross exports of gems & jewellery at US$ 21887.18 million (Rs 161254.77 crores) declined by 34.58% (-31.70% in rupee terms) as compared to US$ 33454.1 million (Rs 236105.65 crores) for the same period in the previous year, the overall gross exports of cut & polished diamonds at US$ 14242.94 million (Rs 104771.93 crores) also declined by 19.53% (-16.10% Rs. term) as compared to US$ 17699.04 million (Rs. 124877.56 crores) for the corresponding period of last year.
Besides gems and jewellery and cut and polished diamonds, the total gross export of gold jewellery at US$ 514.03 million (Rs 3735.25 crores) in February 2021 also showed a decline of 56.12% (-55.43% in rupee terms) as compared to US$ 1171.55 million (Rs 8380.54 crores) for the same period in the previous year.
However, there was a little breather here as the overall gross export of cut & polished diamonds at US$ 1750.19 million (Rs 12615.56 crores) in February 2021 which showed a growth of 26.51% (27.49% in rupee terms) as compared to US$ 1383.43 million (Rs 9895.04 crores) for the same period in the previous year, said stats released by GJEPC.
Meanwhile, the gross imports of rough diamonds at US$ 9486.21 million (Rs 69989.97 crores) in April 2020-February 2021 further declined by 23.43% (-19.97% in rupee terms) compared with the imports at US$ 12388.94 million (Rs 87453.18 crores) for the previous year.
Speaking on the same, Kala said, “There may come the gemstone crisis in the coming days as demand for the same shall be high and the supply of rough is less. Eventually prices of gemstones shall go high and there might be an imbalance in the demand-supply chain.”
Also exports will take a hit in a few markets. The positive side of the story is that production continues in our industry, he said, quoting the Mumbai example, “In Mumbai, amid lockdown, factories continued to operate and hence we are confident to send our products to places where there is demand.”
“As the wedding season approaches (April-May), this wave has left us worried too. So basically we are producing on a smaller scale as there is uncertainty around,” he added.