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Cheer among jewellery exporters, as Govt. of Maharashtra allows limited diamond and jewellery operations during the lockdown

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Thousands of gems and jewellery exporters in Mumbai took a breath of relief, as the government of Maharashtra in a landmark decision on May 11, allowed designated export units of diamond and jewellery to begin their operations in Mumbai. However, considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the government has allowed limited workforce in these jewellery export units and also the transport of the employees will be the responsibility of the employer during the lockdown period, as per a Press Release from GJEPC.
According to the statement from GJEPC, this will be a significant move for the gems and jewellery export operations to commence in Mumbai as the city houses Bharat Diamond Bourse and SEEPZ, two of India’s largest jewellery export designated zones. Also, it is believed that Bharat Diamond Bourse has received export interest applications from the members worth $550Mn from 1673 consignment parcels and SEEPZ is expected to export $10Mn worth of diamond exports from 50 units.
On the other hand, Surat Diamond Bourse and Jaipur resumed work after a gap of almost 5-6 weeks. These centres are operational by adhering to the Covid-19 safety guidelines set up by Govt. The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, along with other trade bodies have been pursuing the State and Central Government to make all the major gem and jewellery centres operational across India to clear the backlog of orders from the pre-lockdown period.
Pramod Kumar Agrawal, Chairman, GJEPC said, “It’s a great step by the Maharashtra Govt. This will help us to commence the exports of gem and jewellery from Mumbai and clear the pending orders. I would like to express my gratitude to Hon’ble Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray; Shri Subhash Desai, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister; Shri Piyush Goyal, Hon'ble Union Minister of Commerce & Industry; Department of Revenue and Department of Customs. Bharat Diamond Bourse and SEEPZ in Mumbai are major centres which have a huge backlog of orders and the industry is happy that these centres will be operational in the next few days. We would make sure that all factories and units are operational following strict guidelines of maintaining social distancing and ensuring frequent sanitisation of factory premises, equipment, and workers.”
Colin Shah, Vice Chairman, GJEPC said, “It has been a collective effort from all the stakeholders that have helped us start gem & jewellery exports. As always there has been tremendous support from the Ministry of Commerce & Industry. The Customs department has remained open during the ongoing lockdown and officials have bravely come forward to ensure exports to take place. Both the Ministry of Commerce and Customs department worked relentlessly for the gems and jewellery exports and we as an industry thank them for their constant support. As a result, cancellation of orders got minimised from Mumbai SEEPZ, Surat Diamond Bourse and Jaipur.”
At Surat SEZ, operations of G&J units commenced post 27th April 2020 with First export of G&J commodity taking place on 5th May. 8 units started their operations in Special Notified Zone, Sachin, Surat. Surat Hira Bourse is facilitating exporters in the clearance of shipments and export to Hong Kong has been possible from Mumbai airport with direct flight/cargo connection. 
Jaipur is another important centre for gem and jewellery wherein on an average daily 7-8 shipments are taking place from ACC, Jaipur (DTA). Till date, 40 units in SEZ, Sitapura and 25 units in gems & jewellery zone of EPIP, Sitapura has commenced their production. DTA has cleared 185 shipments from SEZ, 42 shipments were cleared till May 9th.
The statement also mentions that the GJEPC and the trade fraternity are thankful for the support extended by MOC & I, Department of Commerce and State Governments across the centres. Customs at each Centre of Mumbai, Surat, Jaipur and Delhi has been providing continued assistance and backing the trade-in clearing parcels both at Import and Export. It is expected that the Indian gem and jewellery industry will be gaining back its momentum slowly by strictly adhering to the Covid-19 safety guidelines set up by Government.

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