|Ladies & Gentlemen, Colleagues from the Committee of Administration, Industry, dignitaries from different Consulates, Finacial Institutions, Government & other sectors;
we welcome our Chief Guest Ms. Varda Shine, CEO of Diamond Trading Company, the rough diamond distribution arm of De Beers Group of Companies, which is today world's largest supplier of rough diamonds by value, in the country which the largest processing centre for diamonds in terms of carats, value and no. of stones. Varda is not new to India, coming often in course of her work. Today we are also happy to welcome her better half Mr. Chaim Shine at IIJS, Signature 2012.
We all know that with the global economic slow-down first in US and now in Europe, the turmoil in the Middle East market and the slowing down of economies of India and China has made the jewellery sector across the world go through some tough times. The unprecedented decline of rupee in a short span of time, the increase in price of gold bullion has started to have its impact on the demand of jewellery in domestic sector which is a bad sign for us. A silver lining is the sale of jewellery doing fairly good during this Christmas in US. In this scenario, when the income levels of the consumers are not growing, the future growth of jewellery sector will depend upon how we can target the entire segment and get the purchase from the noveau rich consumers of India and China. However, I do not believe in those talks that 2012 may be worse than that of 2008 for the jewellery sector.
The recent spurt in gold prices has given rise to speculation and increase of sale of gold as bullion for investment amongst the consumers which is not a good sign for jewellery as the consumers cutting down their traditional purchases of jewellery to purchase bullion does not help our sector and result in job losses of the jewellery artisans down the line.
However, it is encouraging that the demand of both colourstone and diamond jewellery growing at a healthy rate and predicted to far outstrip the production of diamonds from the current mines, the discovery of Bunder in India is an welcome relief. Varda, I understand that you are coming to India after finalizing the much awaited list of sight holders of DTC. We would urge you to include more Indian diamantaires in the list of DTC sight holders, looking at the performance India had shown and the contribution done to the growth of DTC to become the foremost diamond company in the world by democratizing the usage of diamonds amongst the consumers.
Signature IIJS is a Jewellers only show created 5 years ago by the Council to encourage innovation, uniqueness of thoughts, quality and excellence. Today we can proudly say that the vision of the Council in creating a show at this time of the year has proven to be fruitful for both manufacturers and retailers of India and the world. With 439 exhibitors, 769 booths and 6,500 visitors from retail India and 600 foreign visitors, it has grown in size, though we have limited the maximum no. of booths to only 4 stalls per exhibitor and 4 visitors per retails store. The shortage of space has forced us to allow foreign participation of exhibitors only though international pavilions from countries like Belgium, Israel, Thailand, etc.
Still there is a long waiting list and we are considering to increase the show in size by 20% and do the next edition of the show in February 22 to 25 instead of January as it is too close to Christmas and New Year.
The recent signing of an MOU with the Ministry of Tourism to market jewellery worldwide with Incredible India Campaign, the success of Colourstone Mines to Market at Jaipur, IIJW, IIJS, participation at different prominent exhibitions in the world, all have contributed to Council's efforts in promoting Brand India abroad.
With the advent of newer technology and other multiple options for the working class of India, the availability of labour and skilled workers in the coming days will be a challenge for gem and jewellery sector. The solution lies in organizing the efforts of skilling and re-skilling of such workers through planned skilled development initiatives and programmes. One of the option is setting up a Gem & Jewellery Sector Skill Council in NSDC, which is under way with efforts from GJEPC & GJF and may have answers to these problems. The Council had signed an MOU with GIA also to expand the quality of gem & jewellery testing & education in India.
We will strive to better the sector and make it conformous to International standards.
Have a Happy and Successful Signature IIJS 2012.