India’s gem and jewellery industry has been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, with a vicious second wave of coronavirus currently gripping the country.
Last year, during the first 45-day lockdown, the GJEPC-Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, in an endeavour to manage the situation, contributed Rs.21 crore to PM CARES Fund to support the country’s efforts to combat the pandemic and provide relief measures. The Council also contributed a substantial amount to help the industry’s daily wage workers impacted by Covid-19.
The GJEPC continued its charitable work in the fight against Covid-19 by offering financial assistance (through the Surat Diamond Association) to the SDA-Diamond Hospital & Medical Research Center for the purchase of medical equipment for an isolation ward. The financial aid has enabled the hospital to acquire ventilators, ICU beds, and multi-parameter patient monitors among other equipment.
In a letter the hospital advised that it had no dedicated ward or equipment to provide healthcare services to the people affected by Covid-19. The GJPEC has donated Rs.75,42,378 ($101,085) to the Surat Diamond Association (SDA) to fulfil the requirements of the hospital.
Colin Shah, Chairman, GJEPC, said, “Not only was it necessary to look after the people associated with the gem and jewellery industry, it was a collective social responsibility to help our fellow citizens. We were together with our countrymen to fight and survive this pandemic. The funds donated by GJEPC are merely a token of our solidarity with the government and people of India.”
GJEPC initiated the Covid fund for karigars, which was transferred in the form of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) into the bank accounts of daily wage workers of the gem and jewellery industry. The Council meticulously worked to identify the daily wage workers most in need and transferred a sum of Rs.1,500 to each worker’s account.
The GJEPC continued its charitable work in the fight against Covid-19 by offering financial assistance (through the Surat Diamond Association) to the SDA-Diamond Hospital & Medical Research Center (Matrushree Ramuba Tejani & Shantaba Vidiya Hospital) for the purchase of medical equipment for an isolation ward.
The financial aid has enabled the hospital to acquire ventilators, ICU beds, and multi-parameter patient monitors, among other equipment.
In June 2020, the Council handed over a cheque of Rs.71 lakh to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Rajasthan Shri Ashok Gehlot to aid the fight against Covid-19 within the state.
The amount, which has been allocated from the Council’s Corporate Social Responsibility Fund, was given to Rajasthan Medicare Relief Society to purchase equipment for Sawai Man Singh Hospital Jaipur, which is one of the important centres taking care of those afflicted by coronavirus.
Donations were also made to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath. The Council contributed Rs.20 lakh to increase the financial resources of the State Government for the welfare of its people. Similarly, the GJEPC contributed to other regions like Eastern, Western and Southern regions of the country.
Contributions by Companies and Jewellery Associations
During the trying times of the pandemic, the Venus Hospital played a pivotal role in providing healthcare services to Covid patients. The total number of patients treated until now is 4,785 with one of the highest recovery rates.
The hospital, opened in 2019, is a 200-bed multi-speciality facility and is equipped with ultra-modern facilities.
“Our goal was to set a benchmark for ethics, quality and service in the healthcare sector,” said Sevantibhai Shah, Partner, Venus Jewel.
“The entire nation was locked down for many months last year resulting in many helpless people being stranded without employment and food. We dedicated the kitchen of our manufacturing unit to serve the community by providing 50,000+ meals for distribution.”
Moreover, Venus Jewel contributed generously to Government and NGO funds dedicated for Covid Relief with donations of around Rs.40 lakh to: the State Chief Minister Fund; Local Municipal Corporation; the Gem and Jewellery National Relief Foundation for assistance to the industry’s affected craftsmen; and the Lodha Foundation for food to the unemployed labour and quarantined patients.
Venus Jewel’s leadership team are also trustees of various relief organisations, assisting them in the fight against the pandemic, strategically as well as financially. In many instances, partners have also provided help from their personal funds to help the Covid-affected patients and their families.
Kalyan Jewellers donated more than Rs.5 crore to Covid-19 relief in the past year through various initiatives. Kalyan Jewellers launched the ‘Goldsmith Relief fund’ for karigars. The fund provided relief material and monetary assistance to the daily wage workers.
The company worked closely with various associations such as the Jewellery Manufacturers Association, Kerala, Coimbatore Jewellers Association and Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Mumbai.
Talking about the initiative, T.S. Kalyanaraman, Chairman and Managing Director, Kalyan Jewellers, said, “We have witnessed an unprecedented global pandemic. The Goldsmith Relief Fund was a humble initiative that we put together to try and bring some semblance of financial relief to the artisans working in our industry.”
The company also set up an oxygen facility at the specially designated Covid ward, which was set up by the Health Department of the Kerala Government, in a public-private partnership model. Kalyan Jewellers was a major contributor to this state government initiative.
Additionally, as part of Kalyan Jewellers Livelihood Program, the company donated food kits to various relief agencies, hospitals and schools during the lockdown in 2020. Overall, the company spent Rs 5.25 crore to support daily wage workers, from across the country with effective distribution of monetary funds and/or rations and also via donations to State Relief Funds.
Suhas Rao, Managing Director, Bhima Jewellery, Kochi, said, “The nationwide lockdown in India was declared on March 24th by the central government, but we remained closed from March 22nd as the numbers of cases were increasing in Kerala.
“In this part of the country, April is one of the peak seasons for buying gold and jewellery. Since the lockdown was totally unexpected, like all other businesses, we too faced a huge loss. But we felt that it was the time to stand together and this seemed to be the right time for us to do something in return to all of them.
“We decided to pay all our 800-strong staff full salary during the lockdown period. Supporting 800 families was our primary aim. We also decided to give lockdown allowances to almost 700 smiths who are directly associated with us and also extended a helping hand to others through the Jewellery Manufacturers Association.
“We donated Rs. 1 crore to Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund and donated free food kits to the backward and coastal areas of the towns where we have our showrooms. Apart from this, we also donated to various other charitable associations.
Raj Singh, Vice President – Operations, Vaibhav Global, said, “Last year was taxing for businesses across the globe. But as a company we are happy that even in these unprecedented times, we have been able to contribute in a small way to the needy and to our frontline workers. As every year, we have stood by our promise of “Delivering Joy” along with sustained business growth to our stakeholders.
Vaibhav Global distributed 90,000+ ration kits to more than 350 schools under its flagship programme “Your Purchase Feeds”. Daily meals and tuition with study materials were provided to about 30 underprivileged children. Singh said the company distributed 2,000 masks to police and frontline workers; donated masks, shields, food packets, safety equipment across various charities.
“We thank all our employees and customers for contributing to our growth and keeping faith in the organisation. Moreover, 128 company employees voluntarily contributed Rs.2.03 lakh to PM/CM relief fund to fight against Covid-19.”