Abdul Rashid, a gold jewellery artisan from Kolkata, manages a small jewellery making unit in Ahmedabad. Three months ago, about 80 jewellery artisans were employed at his unit, who worked from 10am to 8pm. However, with gold prices rising over the last few months due geopolitical factors and the customs duty increase, jewellery demand has fallen dramatically and 30 artisans from Rashid’s unit were left without jobs. With no alternative livelihood in the city, they were forced to head back home to West Bengal, Bihar, Rajasthan or Odisha. “We now have barely 50 workers at the unit and the amount of work we get has fallen.
On average, job work is done on 1.5kg of gold every day at our unit. Against this, there is barely 500g of work a day now. Our workers, who used to work 10 hours a day, are now working barely six and sitting idle for the rest of the time,” said Rashid. Analysts blame the situation on poor demand for jewellery due to high prices. “Gold prices have remained high over the last two months. Moreover, customs duty on gold imports was raised from 10% to 12.5%, which further added to the high gold prices.
There is a major drop in sales which is hurting manufacturing units. Gujarat has roughly 10 lakh gold and silver jewellery artisans employed in the sector. If things continue this way, there will be a further erosion in the workforce. We have taken up the issue with the Union finance ministry as well,” said Anantha Padmanabhan, chairman of the All India Gems and Jewellery Domestic Council (AIGJDC).
Gold prices stood at Rs 35,650 per 10g including 3% goods and services tax (GST) in Ahmedabad on Tuesday
Courtesy - TNN