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GJEPC Donates $6.7M in Coronavirus Aid

Funds will go to daily-wage workers in the trade and to government efforts against the pandemic.
Mar 29, 2020 9:22 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) will contribute a sum from its own reserves to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trade group plans to donate INR 500 million ($6.7 million) to aid the country’s daily-wage workers in the gem and jewelry industry whose livelihood is directly impacted by the virus, it said last week. Some of the funds will also be spent on specific government initiatives to help the public in its fight against the coronavirus, such as creating medical facilities and other health-related needs.

“The economic situation of our country and that of our industry has taken a severe beating,” said GJEPC chairman Pramod Agrawal. “Our businesses are impacted, but the most affected is our daily-wage-worker community. This is an industry that contributes 7% to India’s total [gross domestic product] and employs more than 5 million [in its] workforce. It becomes important and mandatory at such distressing times to take adequate care of our employees and support them wholeheartedly.”

The GJEPC has set up a task force that will make decisions on how the contribution will be used, the organization noted. It has also appealed to all its members to take care of their employees during the lockdown period.

The Indian government has agreed to waive certain compliance and tax filings for companies during the shutdown. The GJEPC has also asked that the gem and jewelry sector be included on the list of jobs covered under the government financial-aid scheme, as many workers have been rendered jobless thanks to the cancellation of export orders.

“GJEPC will leave no stone unturned when it comes to protecting and taking care of the industry workers, as they are the backbone of the trade,” GJEPC vice chairman Colin Shah added.

Image: A booth at the IIJS Signature show in India, February 2020. (GJEPC)
Tags: Colin Shah, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, GJEPC, Pramod Agrawal, Rapaport News
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