Low wages a bane for gems and jewellery industry: Report

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Average salary in India’s gems and jewellery industry, at Rs 2.52 lakh per annum, is lower than that of other industries like pharma and capital goods, leading to acute labour shortage in the sector, says a report.
According to a PTI report: What makes things worse is poor working conditions and limited compliance with health and safety standards, which explains low interest among job-seekers for the industry, the Assocham-Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI) study found out.
The pecking order has pharmaceuticals in the lead with an average salary of Rs 5.09 lakh per annum. The figure for capital goods reads Rs 4.94 lakh, while electronics settles for Rs 4.43 lakh, chemical (Rs 3.97 lakh), automotive (Rs 3.77 lakh), construction material (Rs 2.88 lakh), metal and metal products (Rs 2.54 lakh), which makes them more lucrative for job-seekers.
There are other turn-offs as well: excessive and prolonged exposure to lethal chemicals and gases that can lead to lung tissue and kidney damage and cancer makes the jewellery industry less attractive for the youth.
Unorganized players and small-scale enterprises, not known to use cutting-edge technology and high-quality materials in the manufacturing process, also pull down the industry growth, the study observed.
“Sustainable growth of any industry needs continuous supply of new talent with skills and ground-breaking ideas,” it suggested. “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 on the use of laser machines and other modern techniques prevalent globally,” Secretary General, Assocham, D S Rawat was quoted by PTI as saying.
The study pitched for systematic and collective investment in skill development through increased vocational training and manpower development programmes, which can create a larger talent pool.
It also made a strong case for providing safety kits with daily-use equipment like goggles, gas masks, gloves, lab coats and others to workers, noting that such measures can help reduce negative impact on workers’ health, attract more young population and retain the existing workforce.

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