PM Modi inaugurates Surat Diamond Bourse in Gujarat

The Surat Diamond Bourse building, the world’s largest office complex with more than 67 lakh square feet of floor area, is located at Khajod village near Surat city

December 17, 2023 10:54 am | Updated 05:18 pm IST - Surat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates the Surat Diamond Bourse, as Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Bharatiya Janata Party State chief C.R. Patil and others look on, in Surat on December 17, 2023.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates the Surat Diamond Bourse, as Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Bharatiya Janata Party State chief C.R. Patil and others look on, in Surat on December 17, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 17 inaugurated Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB), the world’s largest and modern centre for international diamond and jewellery business, at a time when the diamond industry is passing through its worst crisis due to global economic slowdown and G7 countries’ tough stand on Russian diamonds.

The SDB building is the world’s largest office complex with over 67 lakh square feet of floor area spread in nine 15-storey interconnected towers with offices ranging from 300 sq ft to 7,5000 sq ft is aimed at shifting the diamond trading business from Mumbai to Surat, which is the hub of diamond cutting and polishing with thousands of factories across the city.

While opening the new project, Mr. Modi called the building as another diamond in the city. “One more diamond has been added to Surat’s magnificence. The tall buildings around the world have lost their sheen in front of such a huge diamond that is now being opened today.”

Surat Diamond Bourse — the world’s largest office complex with more than 67 lakh square feet of floor area — is located at Khajod village near Surat city | Video Credit: Special Arrangement

“Surat diamond industry provides employment to around 8 lakh people, and with the coming up of new diamond bourse, 1.5 lakh more jobs will be added,” he said.

The Prime Minister congratulated the team for the project and called while describing the project as an “emblem of new India and its strength.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also inaugurated a new integrated terminal building at Surat Airport, which was recently designated international status.
The passenger building is capable of handling 35 lakh passengers annually and 1,800 passengers during peak hours. It also has a provision for expansion to be able to handle 55 lakh passengers annually and 3,000 passengers during peak hours.
The building is spread over 25,500 sq km at a cost of Rs 353 crore. It boasts of 20 check-in counters, five conveyor belts and 500 car parking slots. It also 13 new parking bays for aircraft.

At the SDB, besides offices of trading of cut and polished diamonds and agents dealing with import of rough stones from international markets, 27 retail jewellery outlets will also be opened to complete the value chain of diamond jewellery.

However, the inauguration of the greenfield project which was launched in 2015 came amidst severe challenges from global slowdown to geopolitical factors that have upended the diamond industry, which provides jobs to nearly one million people in the State.

The Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB) building, the world’s largest office complex with more than 67 lakh square feet of floor area, is located at Khajod village near Surat city. Photo: @narendramodi/X

The Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB) building, the world’s largest office complex with more than 67 lakh square feet of floor area, is located at Khajod village near Surat city. Photo: @narendramodi/X

Recently, G7 group of countries have announced direct import restrictions on Russian-origin diamonds from January and diamonds processed by third countries like India from March, which has raised major concerns for the Indian gems and jewellery trade and diamond processing industry in Surat.

The restrictions are however applicable to diamonds sized a carat or above in G7 countries, while diamonds sized half a carat or more will be banned in September 2024, and a new system to trace origin of the stones will be introduced.

In Surat, the Russian diamonds of less than 0.5 carats are cut and polished, which means the impact of the ban by G7 will not be that severe, according to factory owners. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel during the inauguration of a new terminal building at Surat Airport on December 17, 2023.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel during the inauguration of a new terminal building at Surat Airport on December 17, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

However, in September, GJEPC (Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council) and other trade bodies had directed members to halt import of rough diamonds for two months from October 15, amid a steep rise in inventory of polished diamonds due to a sharp fall in exports in western countries and China.

“The situation is very bad for the workers or artisans in Surat. In last one year, 30 artisans have committed suicides due to financial difficulties,” Bhavesh Tank; Vice President of Surat Diamond Workers’ Union, claimed.

“Many small and medium sized factories have not even opened after the Diwali vacation or they have downsized their operations affecting workers,” he said, adding that the state or centre government must intervene to help the workers.

According to him; the diamond industry has been declining due to global economic slump. As per the latest data he has obtained from the Ministry of Commerce under the RTI, the value of exports of cut and polished mined diamonds fell to Rs 10,495 crore in October 2023 from Rs 15,594 crore in the same month the previous year, which is a drop of 32 %.

Even the industry insiders contend that there will be retrenchment of workers by around 30 % in coming months if the situation does not improve globally.

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