The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has asked the government to formulate a 'friendly' jewellery repair policy in the next foreign trade policy, stressing that India can emerge as a global restoration hub of old and damaged jewellery items.

The Commerce Ministry is holding stakeholder consultations for the formulation the next foreign trade policy (FTP) for five years (2020-25). It is expected to be rolled out in April.

GJEPC Chairman Colin Shah said that they have suggested the Commerce Ministry that a jewellery repair policy is required as India has all the infrastructure to become a hub of the world in repair and restoration of old and damaged jewellery.

"We need this policy in the next foreign trade policy (2020-25). India has skilled man power for repair of jewellery. A friendly policy would help us in excelling in the sector," Shah said.

The Council has recommended that jewellery sent for repair by foreign firms should not attract customs duty.

The import of jewellery for repair can be suitably regulated to ensure its re-export in a period of 3 to 6 months maximum, the council has suggested.

A new paragraph can be added on import of jewellery for repair purpose as job work in the forthcoming Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), he said.

World wide, precious metal jewellery is sold in almost every country. With usage and over a period of time, some jewellery gets damaged and needs to be repaired or altered or even exchanged for new/fresh jewellery.

In developed countries like the United States (US), and Europe, there is a lack of facilities to repair old /damaged jewellery and also the cost of repair is exorbitantly high, Shah said.

India has the capacity to offer extensive repair and restoration services of jewellery and there exist huge opportunities in the repair business for Indian players, the artisans in India are well suited to handle any jewellery for repair.

"The artisans can customise existing jewellery, set or re-set a customer's stone into a new factory mounting, India can be the hub for repairing and restoring the old jewellery," he added.

This would provide immense employment opportunities for the Indian craftsmen and would bring in much-needed foreign exchange.

Gems and jewellery exports of the country have dipped by about 40 per cent to around $17 billion during April-December 2020.

The FTP provides guidelines for enhancing exports to push economic growth and create jobs.