GJEPC officials were present at a meeting on the lab-grown diamond (LGD) industry chaired by the Union Minister for Commerce & Industry; Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal in New Delhi on 17th May, 2022.
Shri B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, Secretary, MOC&I; Shri Vipul Bansal, Joint Secretary, MOC&I; and Shri R. Arulanandan, Director, DOC were present in the meeting. The industry was represented by Shri Colin Shah, Chairman, GJEPC; Shri Dinesh Navadiya, Regional Chairman (Gujarat), GJEPC; Shri Naresh Lathiya, Convener, Lab-Grown Committee, GJEPC; Shri Manish Jiwani, Co-Convener, Diamond & Lab-Grown Diamond, GJEPC; and Shri Sabyasachi Ray, Executive Director, GJEPC among others.
Shri Colin Shah, Chairman, GJEPC gave a presentation on the status of the LGD industry, the current market scenario and the potential for growth. The discussions also encompassed a proposal to include development of LGD machines under the production-linked incentives (PLI) scheme, which was agreed upon by the Minister.
In his remarks on the meeting, Shri Colin Shah said, “Lab-grown diamonds have the potential to build and sustain a stronger and more self-reliant domestic cutting and polishing industry. The industry thanks the Hon’ble Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal for hearing the industry’s proposal to include lab-grown diamonds under the production-linked incentives (PLI) scheme and for believing that the LGD industry has the potential to employ 1 million people to process 150 million carats of lab-grown diamonds and achieve an export turnover of Rs. 40,000 crore in the near future. The introduction of an LGD tracking system will help GJEPC to monitor the supply chain and maintain consumer confidence in lab-grown diamonds.”
Under the proposed PLI scheme, the unit to get benefits will be required to invest a minimum of Rs. 50 crore and achieve turnover equal to double the investment. Besides, the Government will consider allowing import of sophisticated machinery required for lab-grown diamonds at concessional import duty for one year with a view to promote indigenous manufacturing of such machines in subsequent years. The companies availing benefits under the PLI must be certified by GJEPC.
The discussions also centred on enrolling an eminent institute for research and development, setting up a Mega Common Facility Centre in Gujarat, and skill development of adequate manpower through on-the-job training.
LGDs will also be included in the upcoming FTP 2021-26, and a separate country level HSN code for Natural Studded and LGD Studded Jewellery will be implemented in order to have bifurcation on the types of diamonds used in jewellery. Department of Commerce was requested to incentivise the manufacture of the machinery, so that the industry can be scaled up faster.
Currently, India contributes around 15% in global production of lab-grown diamonds for which it is presently self-sufficient. However, keeping in mind the future potential, there is a need to maintain technological self-reliance in the production of machinery and a leadership position in the production lab-grown diamonds. Given India’s expertise in diamond polishing, it is imperative that India positions itself firmly in the lab-grown diamond sector too since the process of polishing are similar.
Lab-grown diamonds are grown inside a lab using cutting-edge technology that replicates the natural diamond growing process and the result is a man-made diamond. Lab-grown diamonds can be created by two processes – High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT), which is prevalent in China and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), which is commonly seen in the US and India.
Besides the jewellery industry, lab-grown diamonds are also used in computer chips, satellites, 5G networks as they can be used in extreme environments as they have the potential to operate at higher speeds while using less power than silicon-based chips. India’s exports of polished lab-grown diamonds more than doubled (+105.63%) to $1.3 billion from April 2021 to March 2022 compared to $636.25 million in FY 2020-21.