Binit Bhatt, COO, Gem and Jewellery Skill Council of India
This year, we plan to establish at least one skill center in Hupari. It is a cluster of 7 villages near Kolhapur in Maharashtra, known for producing silver jewellery for more than 200 years. They’ve been producing jewellery in traditional ways, we intend to raise their level of skills, giving them knowledge about processes, tools and machinery, so that they can improve their production and productivity both in terms of quality and quantity. Within the same skill center, there would be a Common Facility Center (CFC) with machines like die-stamping, rolling, vulcanization; these will be available at CFC at nominal charge. This revenue will be directed at paying the salary of employees, and meeting administrative and infrastructure costs. We have put up a plan that would be shared with the government of Maharashtra, GOI and the ministry and seek funding.
The next point on our agenda is to scale up Project Vanika. We’ve been running a successful project called Vanika, to skill the tribal women in Jewellery making. This was started on 6th March in 2016 with 40 women, and now we’ve more than 1800 women; we provide them self-employment. Earlier they used to earn Rs 40 per day, now they earn Rs 180 to 200 per day. It’s made a huge difference to their lives. We’ve tied up with IJMA for the supply of raw material, the women assemble the pieces and they are paid on the basis of work they’ve done. We intend to put up a skill center there, though not a brick and mortar structure, we plan to use an ITI or Gram Panchayat School during their off- hours.
We are also contemplating on running some courses on Visual Merchandising, 3D Printing that will generate jobs of the future. GJSCI will run these courses in institutes and colleges. And under PMKVY, we have a set target of minimum 75000 people to be trained.
Our other initiatives focus on catching the students young through schools and colleges. For example, with the help of IIGJ Jaipur, which is our Center of Excellence, we bring in school children from 8th and 9th standards and expose them to Jewellery making. They try their hands with jewellery making and when they take the stuff home, their parents become aware that jewellery as a career option is possible. This experiment will be done in Mumbai and Surat. We also host Gem and Jewellery Talks by eminent people in the field by inviting students from colleges and institutions running programs like jewellery designing and manufacturing. Student get to learn, become knowledgeable and may add to the aspirational value of jobs and careers in the gem and jewellery sector in India.