Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said he will talk to Union Finance Minister to look into the concerns of the gems and jewellery industry about the proposed GST. “The gems and jewellery industry not only earns foreign exchange for the country but also generates employment opportunities. We understand the concerns of the industry over the proposed GST (good and services tax),” Fadnavis said at the 43rd India Gems and Jewellery Awards 2016 here last night. “The industry faces global competition and the profit margin is slim. So if the capital is blocked, the interest goes up,” he said.
“I promise the industry that I along with Gujarat Chief Minister will talk to FM Arun Jaitley and try to convince him about the need to help the sector,” he said. “We are in an era of ease of business, so we will try to find a solution in this regard,” he further said. The chief minister said the gems and jewellery industry has given an identity to Mumbai, and the state government will work together with the sector to boost it. “We will find a suitable land for the industry to set up an exhibition centre and a gems and jewellery park in Mumbai or its vicinity,” Fadnavis said.
He said the state will consider a proposal from the industry to set up a gems and jewellery university. “We don’t want to only go for conventional universities and are looking at something like gems and jewellery university, which will not only provide human resource to the industry but also generate employment,” he said. “However, it has to be done through an act of legislation and we will consider any such proposal from the sector,” the CM said. Currently, India is the sixth largest exporter of gems and jewellery in the world, Fadnavis said.
“We will work together with the industry and with the university, we will make India the number one gems and jewellery exporter in the world,” he said. The gems and jewellery industry has been earmarked as one of the priority sectors which contributes almost 6 per cent of India’s GDP. It currently employs 3.5 million people and aims to create an additional 2.5 million jobs by 2022.