Soon, a university in Varanasi to meet skill needs of gems & jewellery sector

The huge skill gap in the gems and jewellery sector could soon be filled by a university which is being set up in Varanasi purely for this purpose. Indian Institute of Gems & Jewellery (IIGJ) is setting it up with an investment of `20 crore. Kirit Bhansali, Chairman, IIGJ said that they are planning to start a full-fledged university in Varanasi. “It is a `20-crore project. We have brought out a rental premises for this. Varanasi is known for jewellery and we don’t have good institutes for training in this,” he added.

Bhansali said that a large portion of the gems and jewellery sector is unorganised and it will have to be organised. IIGJ has two schools in Mumbai and they are planning to expand these in terms of size. IIGJ has produced 8000 qualified students so far and Bhansali said that every student gets `35,000 plus as average salary. For the top students, the salary exceeds `1 lakh a month. Their initiative is part of Skill India project and Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy is also helping them in this endeavour. The government had, in 2015, brought out a vision to have 400 million plus skilled workers by 2020. In terms of courses, Bhansali said that jewellery designing is in demand. This, he added, is because India has a good market share in this sector and is competing with the global market.

Indian Institute of Gems & Jewellery (IIGJ) is an initiative by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). According to a report by KPMG on human resource requirement for the gems and jewellery industry, with a market size of almost `4.54 lakh crore, the sector has a sizeable share of the GDP at about 5.9 percent, apart from large-scale employment generation and foreign exchange earnings.

A share of wallet analysis reveals that jewellery accounts for more than a fourth of the discretionary spending by consumers in India. This coupled with rising income levels in India is a major growth-driver. With more than 300 million people in the 25–29 age groups in the period 2011–21, 150 million weddings are expected to take place in this period.