India’s Modi says new diamond bourse in Gujarat to create 150,000 jobs

By Dhwani Pandya

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s Surat diamond bourse will create 150,000 new jobs and become a “one-stop shop” for artisans and businessmen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said as he inaugurated the new bourse in Gujarat.

Surat, in Gujarat state, where Modi originally hails from, cuts and polishes 90% of world’s rough diamonds and the bourse will support its ambition to become the world’s diamond capital.

Constructed over 6.6 million square feet, the bourse is touted as the world’s largest office building, surpassing the Pentagon which has an area of 6.5 million square feet.

Once it starts operating facilities such as international banking, safe vaults and a jewellery mall, further jobs would be created, Modi said during the inauguration event.

The inauguration comes as Surat’s diamond industry is battling a slowdown in global demand for polished diamonds. India’s April-October polished diamond exports fell 29% to $10 billion.

Modi said that while Surat’s diamond’s industry had a leading position in diamond jewellery exports, silver cut diamonds and lab-grown diamonds, India’s share of global gems-jewellery exports was just 3.5%.

Surat could help increase India’s share of gems-jewellery exports to “double-digits”, Modi said.

He added that he would continue to support the sector with a range of incentives and by declaring it a focus area for export promotion.

(Reporting by Dhwani Pandya; editing by Christina Fincher)