Special Economic Zones (SEZs) across India have turned out to be major trading centers for cutting and polishing diamonds, posing a threat to the traditional diamond processing industry, according to Business Standard.
There are currently 10-12 SEZs dedicated to the jewelry sector across the country, of which Mumbai and Surat are the largest.
Data compiled by the Gems & Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) show that trading activities in Mumbai and Surat combined have increased significantly in the first ten months of this financial year. In the Mumbai SEZ alone, import of cut and polished diamonds has risen by 32.3%, according to Business Standard.
The GJEPC has urged state governments in India to withdraw trading licenses from the SEZs. The government has been promoting these zones by offering a number of tax benefits to manufacturers.
India is a major diamond processing region, cutting 11 of every 13 rough diamonds produced across the world. The cutting and polishing diamond industry employs approximately a million people in India.