Small and medium jewellers are weighed down by the combined effect of changes in hallmarking regulations and poor sales.
The display shelves at a gold jewellery outlet of a chain on S.M. Road are bare with only a handful of cases for customers. “There is no stock. This is all we have. New stock is expected only after 20 days,” said the sole employee manning the shop. It is not the only one facing this problem. Display cases in many jewellery shops in the city are sitting bare, while owners and store managers attribute it to the recent lockdown.
Praveen Kumar, who manages a jewellery shop at Gokula in Yeshwanthpur, told The Hindu that most manufactured jewellery comes to the city from neighbouring Maharashtra. “With the lockdown in that State, we have not been getting stock,” he said. According to T.A. Madhukiran, partner of a gold jewellery shop in Gandhinagar, the past two months have been a struggle for small and medium-sized jewellers.
From the supply side, jewellery manufacturers in the city, too, have been hit by labour shortage even though lockdown restrictions in the State had been eased earlier this month. In Benglauru, for instance, many jewellery manufacturers are working with less than 50% of their staff strength. “After the lockdown, many workers had gone back to their hometowns and they are yet to return,” Mr. Madhukiran added.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, jewellery shops were closed for more than three months. This year too, the shops have remained closed for many months. “We lost out on a lot of business, as we were closed on big sale occasions such as Ugadi and Akshaya Tritiya, and a large part of the wedding season,” he said.
The last two years have been a challenging time for the jewellery industry. S. Venkatesh Babu, immediate past president of Bengaluru Jewellers’ Association, said that the supply chain had been impacted and business reduced greatly. “Some small traders are yet to reopen and few others are in no mood to improve the inventory. Some are waiting for the end of ‘Ashada’ which is considered as an ‘inauspicious’ month,” he said.
The lack of clarity in the revised rules for hallmarking jewellery is also affecting the industry. The change in these regulations was also delaying jewellery processing, said T.A. Sharavana, MLC and president of Karnataka Jewellers’ Association. Mr. Babu added that the new rules benefited large corporate jewellers, who commanded the market.
“Due to the combined effect of the change in hallmarking regulations, lockdown and months of lack of business, small and medium jewellers are not even able to meet 30% of sales made two years ago,” said Mr. Madhukiran.
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