The average salary in Indian gems and jewellery industry is at Rs 2.52 lakh per annum. This is lower than other manufacturing industries that are becoming more rewarding for young workers – pharmaceuticals (Rs 5.09 lakh), capital goods (Rs 4.94 lakh), automotive (Rs 3.77 lakh), chemical (Rs 3.97 lakh), electronics (Rs 4.43 lakh), construction material (Rs 2.88 lakh), metal and metal products (Rs 2.54 lakh).
There are many health hazards associated with the skilled workforce of the industry as well. Excessive and prolonged contact with lethal chemicals and gases can lead to ailments like lung tissue damage, kidney damage and lung cancer thus making the industry less attractive and not an employer of choice for the younger generations.
“Inadequate working conditions and limited compliance with health and safety standards have also led to low-interest in the industry,” reflected an ASSOCHAM-Thought Arbitrage joint study titled ‘Gems & jewellery industry: Contributing to Make in India,’ conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) jointly with Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI).
Many unorganised players and small-scale enterprises do not seem to use modern technology and high-quality materials in their manufacturing processes; this is among the major reasons behind the slow growth of gems and jewellery sector in India.
While releasing the findings of the study, D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM, stated: “Sustainable growth of any industry needs continuous supply of new talent with skills and ground-breaking ideas.”
He also opined: “Manual methods of cutting, polishing, manufacturing and designing of gems and jewellery need to be substituted with high-end machines and software by imparting practical training to the youth in use of laser machines and other modern techniques prevalent globally.”
The study has further suggested for systematic and collective investments in skill development through increased training and workforce development programs.
Investment in vocational training institutes will offer a path to increase awareness and attract the younger generation to the sector by providing better career prospects thereby enabling industry with access to a larger talent pool mitigating the effect of reducing inherited skills.
The study has also suggested that providing safety kits with daily use equipment like goggles, gloves, gas masks, lab coats and others to the workers will reduce the risks of health hazards and hence will attract more youngsters to join the industry.
The aforementioned steps will not only help reduce negative impacts on workers’ health, attract growing young population but also will be helpful in retaining the present workforce, thereby resulting in low labour turnover, improved efficiency and better output.
Image courtesy: blominvestbank.com & dimaonddigest.in