Fearing suicides, Surat diamond industry holds motivational workshop for workers

Aims to tame panic arising from job losses and uncertain future

Surat’s diamond industry fears its worst nightmare to come true. The industry frets about the likely suicides by jobless workers, who have been rendered jobless by the worst slowdown in more than a decade.

The Gujarat Chapter of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) in partnership with the trade body Surat Diamond Association (SDA) and workers’ body Ratna kalakar Vikas Sangh have convened a motivational workshop for the beleaguered workers.

Titled as ‘Abhay – Your existence is a blessing for your family’, the workshop looks to build positivity and overcome the feeling of helplessness and stop them from taking the extreme step.

“The diamond sector is passing though a tough time with weakness in the global market and slowdown in Indian economy. It is facing big challenges. Amid all these, the diamond workers shouldn’t lose hope and sink into despair. To keep their morale up and not fall prey to the rumours in the industry about joblesses, we have taken an initiative to spread positivity and optimism,” Dinesh Navadia, Regional Chairman, GJEPC said.

The trade bodies have invited psychiatrist Mukul Choksi and Aarti Mehta to conduct a seminar-workshop for the distressed diamond workers and train them to understand the importance of human life and develop positive mindset.

Over 1 lakh workers jobless since December 2018

There has been severe slowdown in the jewellery and diamond sector. This has prompted many diamond firms to lay off excess workforce. As per the trade estimate, more than one lakh workers have lost their jobs since December last year. The layoffs continued as there were feeble chances for a revival in the demand even as the festive season failed to lift the mood.

While smaller units have either shut shops or laid off employees to pare the extra financial burden, the bigger units have not reduced the workforce. They have however, reduced the number of working hours i.e the shift timings, thereby causing a dent in the earnings of workers.

The overall diamond demand is estimated to be down by about 30 per cent from what last year’s demand. The Surat diamond industry employs about seven lakh people directly with an annual turnover of close to Rs 1 lakh crore.

Some attributed the current plight to the demonetisation of 2016, some blamed the Goods and Sales Tax  (GST) roll-out and the hike in import duty of gold for the demand slowdown, while others hold global as well as domestic economic factors responsible for the slump.


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