Speaking at the inauguration, the Prime Minister said that “India is the natural venue for this conference. For one, it is generally believed that diamond is India`s gift to the world. More than two thousand years ago, diamond was deeply valued in India. It was even traded with China over the Silk Route. Till about the 18th century, India was considered to the only source of diamond.”
The Prime Minister said that he has laid three proposals to President Putin. “First, I would like ALROSA to have direct long term contracts with more Indian companies. I am pleased to know that they are moving in that direction. Second, I want ALROSA and others to trade directly on our bourse. We have decided to create a Special Notified Zone, in which major mining companies can import rough diamonds on a consignment basis and re-export unsold ones. This is going to benefit Indian diamond industry and create more jobs for our youth. Third, I asked President Putin to reform regulations so that Russian jewellery makers can send their rough diamond to India and re-import polished diamond without paying duty. This will give a boost to our diamond industry. These measures will also boost India-Russia economic ties.”
The Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Ministry has “supported and promoted this (diamond) sector in its initial phases wherein, the imports of rough diamonds to India were eased which in itself provided a smooth take-off for this industry.” She further added that “since then the growth in the diamond sector and progressive improvement in the value addition chain have been contributing in the nation’s industrial development.”
Smt. Sitharaman underlined the fact that the Ministry has “supported the cause of eradication of conflict diamonds in India and worldwide by being a founder member of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.” She also added that India “still has tremendous potential, not yet exploited, for diamond sector exports. India has currently, largest number of artisans for making jewellery in the world. Practically, every village boasts of a family of artisans, having a very long tradition of jewellery making.”
The diamond industry, the Minister said, “is an ideal example of “Make in India”, which is the vision of our honourable Prime Minister. We have achieved the number one position in the world for manufacturing of diamonds.”
Smt. Sitharaman further added that her Ministry “realizes that the sector has been experiencing a weakening demand and that the consumer demand for diamonds need a tremendous boost. Through this conference, we aim to address the most urgent issues being faced by the diamond industry at present- the revival of consumer enthusiasm for diamonds and the consequent increase of market share for diamond jewellery in the luxury sector.”
India’s diamond sector has established itself as the world’s largest manufacturing centre of cut and polished diamonds for the last many years, contributing 70% of the world’s supply in terms of value, 85% in terms of volume and 92% in terms of pieces. Surat along with Navsari, Bhavnagar, Amreli are known as the diamond manufacturing/processing hub whereas Mumbai is the diamond trading hub.
On the sidelines Of World Diamond Conference, ALROSA, the largest rough diamond supplying company of Russia, signed agreements for direct sale of rough diamonds with 12 Indian companies. Under these agreements, over the next three years, USD 2.1 billion worth of rough diamonds would be supplied to India at the rate of USD 700 million per year. The Conference has attracted major mining companies, retailers and diamond cutting industries.
Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), in association with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and World Diamond Mark Foundation (WDMF) is organizing this first ever-global congregation of diamond leaders in India. Mr. Anton Siluanov, Finance Minister of Russian Federation, Mr. Illya Ryashchin, Acting President ALROSA Russia, Mr. Vipul Shah Chairman GJEPC and Vice Chairman GJEPC, Pankaj Parekh were present during the inauguration.