One of the biggest problems of the Surat diamond industry is that it is losing young people, said Martin Rapaport, chairman of Rapaport Group and founder of Rapaport Diamond Report.
Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the Carat and Diamonds Expo, held here for the first time, Rapaport said, “The business between small to small is a great business, save the small, they are the future and they have new ideas… The young and new people are the future of the industry. The biggest problem of the Surat industry is that it is losing young people, as the new generation is not interested in the diamond business.” Rapaport pushed for a more aggressive chain from “manufacturing to marketing” linking “buyers of America to manufacturers of Surat”. He also pushed for Surat diamond businessmen to get into trading more than manufacture (polishing) of diamonds.
He encouraged small diamond manufacturers to export diamonds — around 40 per cent of the US market is dominated by small players. “Big jewellers in America don’t buy polished diamonds from the open market and have fixed sellers. We want to make an open market for small players to do business and for that we invite them to come to Surat, meet industry players which are small, understand them, trust them and then do business,” said Rapaport.
The three-day expo, an initiative to promote interface between small manufacturers and buyers across the world, was inaugurated on Tuesday by Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Mansukh Mandaviya.
Forty small and medium diamond manufacturers of Surat have booked stalls for the event in Varachha. This is the first such programme organised by Surat Diamond Association, with an intention to give a bigger platform to small and medium players.
Mandaviya said, “We want our country to become a superpower, and somebody should take leadership. A basic requirement for this is proper infrastructure, good governance.” Citing the US example, Mandaviya said, “Seventy years ago they built four-lane roads and 50 years ago they installed three-layer metro in Manhattan. For a developed country, good infrastructure is necessary. In this year’s budget for infrastructure, we have allotted Rs 6.5 lakh crore.”