All India Gem & Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC), the national apex body of the gems and jewellery industry, has written to the hon. Chief Minister (CM) of Maharashtra Shri Uddhav Thackeray ji to allow lakhs of jewellers to operate on the auspicious festive occasion of Gudi Padwa (New Year for Maharashtrians) and other summer harvest festivals such as Ugadi, Chaitra Navratri, Jhulelal Jayanti on Tuesday April 13, 2021; Mesha Sankranti, Solar New Year, Puthandu, Vishu Kani, Masik Karthigai, Ambedkar Jayanti and Baisakhi on Wednesday, April 14, 2021; and Gauri Puja, Gangaur, and Pohela Boishakha on Thursday; April 15, 2021 amongst others.
GJC has requested Hon. CM of Maharashtra to give relief to jewellers, who majorly comprise MSMEs in the gem & jewellery sector and prevent jewellery lovers and retailers from being in a lockdown situation for the second year in a row (as April 2020 was also a lockdown month). GJC has also urged the Hon. CM to allow jewellers to operate during the upcoming wedding season in April-June quarter due to several auspicious dates starting mid-April (incidentally weddings are allowed even in lockdown). The new lockdown restrictions ‘Break the Chain’, imposed from 5th April 2021 till 30th April 2021, has the potential to break the backbone of every Jeweller of Maharashtra, said GJC.
GJC has assured the Hon. CM of Maharashtra that jewellers will follow all the relevant mandated COVID-19 protocols in their respective regions while using all possible pro-customer physical-digital-virtual interactive methods in marketing and sales.
In a letter to the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr. Ashish Pethe, Chairman, GJC, stated, “India’s domestic gem & jewellery sector was looking forward to an encouraging scenario in the year 2021 as part of Mission Begin Again. The Government has been supportive by reducing import duty and launching revamped Gold Monitoring Scheme (GMS). The industry was seeing an upward graph but now with new lockdown restrictions in April, the livelihood of many craftsmen and self-employed jewellers will be affected and their families will suffer. The traditional Make in India indigenous gem & jewellery will not be able to survive one more lockdown as on-ground situation is really bad.”
Mr. Pethe said, “Jewellery buying cannot be considered as a casual purchase and should be part of essential services during festivals and wedding season. A jewellery store is undoubtedly one of the only secured retail formats where COVID-19 protocols and social distancing norms are followed very strictly.”
“Maharashtra and especially Mumbai is a major HUB for thousands of wholesalers & manufacturers. It is also the biggest market for diamond exports and majority of the jewellery across India and globally is supplied from Zaveri Bazaar. Maharashtra also houses lakhs of jewellers and artisans who have migrated from all parts of India. The above imposed lockdown will have repercussions on the entire nation and its supply chain,” said Mr. Pethe.
Gudi Padwa is one of the most important festivals for Maharashtra and every year, jewellery business witnesses a spike in sales of roughly around 30 to 40%. Currently thousands of customers have placed orders for Gudi Padwa festival /Mahurat, which are pending delivery. Due to the lock down and closure of retail outlets, the retailers are unable to supply the goods to the customers for Gudi Padwa and their weddings.
Mr. Pethe added, “While all other asset class investment options were volatile during the entire lockdown, gold was the only investment option that provided increment in returns and this helped many households sail through the tough phase of lockdown. Post COVID-19 lockdown, with ‘Mission Begin Again’, there was a new ray of hope for the traders to commence their business and take full advantage of the ensuing Diwali festival. The sales were picking up gradually and the Jewellers were looking forward to a favourable business in the upcoming festive season of Gudi Padwa and Akshaya Tritiya. However, the new lockdown restrictions ‘Break the Chain’, imposed from 5th April 2021 and which shall continue till 30th April 2021 has the potential to break the backbone of every Jeweller of Maharashtra.”
About GJC: All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) represents over 6,00,000 players comprising manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, laboratories, gemologists, designers and allied services to the domestic Gems & Jewellery industry. The Council functions with the objective to address the industry, its functioning, and its cause with a 360° approach to promote and progress its growth, while protecting the industry’s interests. GJC, since the last 15 years, has been serving as a bridge between the government and the trade by undertaking various initiatives on behalf of and for the industry.