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I have a dream to see India become a world leader in high-end jewellery manufacturing - Sanjay Kothari

03 december 2018

sanjay_kothari_xx.pngAn industry leader who needs no introduction to the gem and jewellery industry is Sanjay Kothari…the former chairman of the GJEPC of India has held various positions in the Council including being Convener-Exhibitions for many years before becoming Convener-Promotions & Marketing; was the spokesperson for the Natural Diamond Monitoring Committee (NDMC) and so on.

Under Kothari’s leadership, the GJEPC initiated ANANT, a diamond promotion program and also, ‘India International Jewellery Week’ --- India’s first ever jewellery week. He has led delegations as well as being a member of various Gems & Jewellery Industry delegations organized by the Council to countries in the Latin America and Middle-East regions, and not only.

Kothari is a visionary and a philanthropist. He is a member of the Gem and Jewellery National Relief fund and Jagat Maitri Trust. He is also one of the Directors of M/s. Diatrends Jewellery Pvt. Ltd.

In an interview with Rough&Polished, Sanjay Kothari elucidates on his plans for GJSCI as well as sees India grow to greater heights in jewellery manufacturing.

Some excerpts:

Congratulations Sir on being appointed Chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Skill Corporation of India (GJSCI). We are confident of your leadership in steering this organization, as you did during your tenure as GJEPC Chairman for 2 consecutive terms. To begin with, what new initiative have you taken up and how do you plan to go about executing your ideas?

Thank you very much. This is a major responsibility and I hope to carry this out with the active support from my fellow board members, parent organizations of GJSCI; namely GJEPC, GJC, SGJMA, JAJ and all the other stakeholders of our industry. My first objective is to reach out to all these stakeholders and make them aware of GJSCI’s activities and seek their active collaboration. There are many government schemes like National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) and Recognition of Prior Learning – Best in Class Employer (RPL-4); which are very beneficial for our industry but most of us are not aware of these. Through this reaching out effort, I want to engage with them and onboard them for various beneficial schemes. For this, GJSCI is actively going to participate in various events across India, organize press meets like the one held recently in Mumbai, request trade magazines to give wide coverage to our activities and encourage industry bodies to get associated with GJSCI for various activities.

How important is it for the gem and jewellery industry in India to upgrade itself by absorbing new and the latest most sophisticated technologies but also in terms of recruiting certified skilled workforce so as to be on par with industries across the globe?

Our industry needs to understand that it is absolutely critical to both upgrade and absorb new technologies and recruit certified skilled workforce. This will not only make our industry more uniform and organized but will also prepare the ground for us to compete with the world’s best manufacturing countries like Italy, Hong Kong, etc. I have a dream to see India become a world leader in high-end jewellery manufacturing and this is the right time for our industry to embrace this vision.

Does India have the requisite number of training institutes to cater to the fast-growing gem and jewellery industry? What steps should be taken by the government in this matter? Are private institutions showing interest in starting gem and jewellery related courses, etc.? Names of the institutions, please?

The number of current institutes is very few, particularly in the field of jewellery manufacturing. There are established institutes in the area of Diamond grading and assortment, Hand sketch designing, CAD operator, Gemologist etc. but very few when it comes to training the candidates on manufacturing skills. The government should support the skilling initiative by helping industry bodies like GJEPC, GJC, etc., set up these manufacturing training centers with advanced equipment and machinery. GJEPC is conducting a Cluster Development study through NCAER and these clusters should also work as training centers. Another very important requirement is the establishment of academies/institutes for Training of Trainers in each of the clusters as only good trained trainers can ensure properly trained and employable candidates. There are a few institutions working in the area of training for the gem and jewellery industry like IIGJs (a GJEPC initiative), GIA, GII, IGJ etc.

How do you think that training institutes and industry bodies could join hands as partners and grow the industry? Can you elaborate, please?

Training institutes and industry bodies have to play a very important role if this entire skilling initiative has to be successful. We need trainers and assessors with industry background and knowledge to join hands with GJSCI for not only effective training but also to provide timely inputs to keep the curriculum updated and relevant for the industry. Their active participation will also help in filling up any existing gaps in the job roles which have been so far identified and taken up by GJSCI for training purpose. The leading industry bodies can actually lead the path for the establishment of training infrastructure for the industry.

Also, is it a known fact that the Indian gem and jewellery industry prefers to hire known or recommended personnel from peers, which is in some way legitimate given the kind of business pattern in the gem and jewellery industry. Can this mindset of business owners be changed, if at all? Your thoughts?

I very strongly feel that it is both possible as well as required to change this mindset if our industry wants to compete at the world stage. There are many companies in our industry also who follow the completely professional approach in training and recruitment of fresh candidates and they are extremely successful. It is only a matter of time when the industry will have to look beyond the immediate consideration set of known or referred people for recruitment. Moreover, all of us have a combined responsibility of making the gem and jewellery industry an inspirational one and formal training and standardized certification and employment opportunities are going to be crucial for this.

Can you, for the benefit of our readers, briefly explain GJSCI’s initiatives like Project Vanika and Project Rupaantar and Project Hupari which might be beneficial to interested students to get trained?

Project Vanika and Project Rupaantar are two projects with a different focused audience. Through project Vanika, we are trying to train and empower the tribal women in scheduled tribal areas so that they can have a regular source of income without getting into a full-time wage employment. Project Rupaantar is focused on training jail inmates, particularly first time offenders with a view to skill them so that they can be gainfully employed not only while serving their term but also after their release.

Hupari is a village cluster in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra and is known for its silver anklets. There are more than 30000 artisans in this area who still use old, unproductive and somewhat hazardous processes in their micro units. GJSCI is working to establish a Common Facility Centre (CFC) cum Training institute in Hupari not only to upgrade the processes and improve the productivity of Hupari artisans but also to provide fresh training for new people looking to join the industry and help them induct new designs to upgrade their product line as well.

Till now, in what fields of gem and jewellery has GJSCI been instrumental in imparting training to candidates? Please give details.

GJSCI works for all the subsectors of gem and jewellery industry viz. diamond processing, gemstone processing, jewellery manufacturing, wholesale, retail and export including imitation jewellery. Till now, training has been imparted in all these subsectors. Some of the leading job-roles have been Hand sketch Designer, CAD operator, Jewellery Retail Sales Associate, Frame maker, Component maker, Polisher & Cleaner, Appraiser and valuer etc. As you know, GJSCI doesn’t directly impart any training. The training is imparted by the affiliated training partners through NSDC.

What was the outcome of the Road Show GJSCI conducted in SEEPZ on 26th October 2018 along with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)? Was the response from the manufacturing units positive? Your comments.

The roadshow on 26th October was primarily focused on Apprenticeship and National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme. The idea was to share the new provisions of the act and NAPS and how are they beneficial to the industry at large and the gem and jewellery industry in particular.

The manufacturing units both from within and outside SEEPZ participated in this event and we have received a highly positive response. As an industry, gem and jewellery is second only to a retail industry in terms of adoption and use of the new Apprenticeship Scheme.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished