The culprits: bad pay, worse working conditions
Noncompetitive pay and unsafe working conditions could spark a labor shortage in the Indian gem and jewelry industries, according to a new joint study conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI).
The study said that India’s gem and jewelry workers face significant health risks, as prolonged exposure to certain chemicals and gasses can lead to lung and kidney damage. It suggests providing workers with safety kits, goggles, gas masks, gloves, and lab coats.
It further notes that the average salary in the Indian gem and jewelry sector is lower than that paid by the pharmaceuticals, capital goods, electronics, chemical, automotive, and construction sectors.
The big problem: Many of the sector’s players are small and unorganized, with limited access to cutting-edge technology and high-quality materials.
“Sustainable growth of any industry needs continuous supply of new talent with skills and groundbreaking ideas,” said D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM, in a statement. “Manual methods of cutting, polishing, manufacturing, and designing of gems and jewelry need to be substituted with high-end machines and software by imparting practical training to the youth in the use of laser machines and other modern techniques prevalent globally.”