Many jewellery karigars, who work at the various manufacturing hubs in the country hail from West Bengal. Owing to the business deficit, jewellers are forced to cut salaries of these artisans by 50 per cent, at least till Diwali, when the industry is expecting sales to increase.
Currently, many of these artisans are living off their savings and income generated through agricultural and other farm work. Both of these sources aren't sufficient to support their families and they need to go back to the cities and resume their duties. The pandemic induced lockdown and government norms related to the Covid-19 situation in major cities across India, are creating a lot of difficulties for them.
Manufacturers in Mumbai have said they are not willing to increase their overhead costs. Sales have fallen drastically and they are not ready to increase production cost.
Some of the major jewellery manufacturing and retail hubs are: Mumbai, Kolkata, Rajkot, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, Thrissur, Junagadh, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi.
The outright sale of jewellery has nosedived to five per cent of the pre-Covid level. All India Gem & Jewellery Domestic Council chairman Anantha Padmanabhan noted.
Jewellery buying has come to a bare minimum, mostly families which have weddings scheduled are buying bridal jewellery. Others those who have some functions happening their family, are coming to buy jewellery as per their requirement. Casual purchases have come to a standstill. High budget purchases have been put off by many families. In such a situation jewellery sales figures have fallen considerably, forcing jewellers to make do with existing inventory. They have ample stock to last till Diwali and will not need new stock at all. As a result many artisans are out of work. Jewellers do not want to hire their services, unless demand rises and their services become essential.