Apr.15 - India, the world's biggest processor of diamonds, is planning to develop a trading hub for rough diamonds to reduce dependence on existing centres like Dubai and Antwerp for raw material sourcing. Hayley Platt reports.
It's already the world's biggest processor of diamonds - cutting and polishing 11 out of 12 of the gems. Now India plans to create a new trading hub for rough diamonds in direct competition with Dubai and Belgium. It's one of the ways it hopes to boost exports to cut its record current account deficit. Anoop Mehta is chairman of Bharat Diamond Bourse. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIRMAN, BHARAT DIAMOND BOURSE, ANOOP MEHTA, SAYING: "Eighty percent of the world's rough diamond production comes to India, not directly, but either through Dubai or through Antwerp, so its just necessary that most of the primary producers of rough, that means the people who own the mines, they should have the offices here and sell the rough directly in India, so that the medium and smaller firms can take advantage of it." India's diamond industry is already worth around $14 billion dollars. The Council that promotes it says thousands of jobs could be created by persuading companies like de Beers to sell their diamonds in India. (SOUNDBITE) (English) VICE CHAIRMAN, GEMS AND JEWELLERY EXPORT PROMOTION COUNCIL (GJEPC), PANKAJ KUMAR PAREKH, SAYING: "If you permit and make the conditions more conducive in India, why would they stay there in Antwerp or in Tel Aviv, they'll come to Mumbai, they'll come to India. Now when they come, they'll give more employment to Indians, its very clear, its very essential." India's gem and jewellery trade employs 3.4 million people and forms around 15 percent of its exports. But there's been a 10 percent fall over the past 11 months to around $38bln Exports of cut and polished diamonds faired even worse - down by almost a third. The government has set up a task force to look at the best ways to create a diamond trading hub. It'll present its export import policy later this month.