Recent reports about Mumbai’s gold hub at Zaveri Bazaar shifting to New Mumbai is nothing new. Plans to shift the congested gold market in south Mumbai have been afoot for three years when Maharashtra state government signed an agreement with Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) at the Magnetic Maharashtra 2018 conclave during the previous BJP regime in the state under the then Chief Minister Devendra Phadnavis.
The then Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had laid the foundation stone of the proposed India Jewellery Park (IJP) in the presence of Maharastrta’s Industry Minister Subhash Desai and Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Chairman P.K. Agarwal.
The proposed jewellery park, IJP, an ultra-modern and high-tech gems and jewellery park is expected to be developed at a cost of Rs 14,467 crore on a 21-acre complex in Navi Mumbai. It was initially supposed to be ready by 2022, but the deadline could be shifted now because of the pandemic. The IJP is expected to have an annual turnover of around Rs 50,000 crore under the current market conditions with a majority slated for exports.
Many jewellers from the existing jewellery hub — Zaveri Bazar in south Mumbai – are expected to shift to the new complex. The IJP is also expected to mainly focus on exports of gold jewellery. It will also have a common facility centre, customs, banking services, refining centre and other facilities, besides community and medical facilities for the workers and their families.
Jewellery accounts for 7 per cent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 14 per cent of merchandise exports, playing an important role in the economy. The industry is expected to double its export target to $ 75 billion by 2025. The gems and jewellery sector employs more than 5 million skilled people.
Mumbai is the biggest exporter of gems and jewellery, accounting for almost $ 30 billion and 70 per cent of the Indian exports in this sector. Maharashtra also has the largest diamond bourse in the world, the Bharat Diamond Bourse, in Bandra Kurla Complex. The IJP is expected to transform the industry in Maharashtra and India and generate over one lakh additional jobs.
It is pertinent to recall here that the Bharat Diamond Bourse complex was also launched with great fanfare in BKC, Mumbai, expecting to shift diamond traders from Mumbai’s Opera House area to Bandra. However, it took over a decade for the diamond hub to shift to the new location. It is anybody’s guess as to how long the gold hub at Zaveri Bazar will take to move to Kharghar, New Mumbai.