State Of The Economy 2016

Roughing it out

Surat's diamond units are recovering from the industry's worst slump in four decades

photographs: Soumik Kar

Absolutely hopeless.” Seated in his sun-lit, spacious office on the top floor of an unassuming multi-storeyed building in Surat’s former textile hub of Kapodara — the name derived from the Surti word for cloth, kapad — Shailesh Zadafiya doesn’t mince words when asked how 2015 has been for the diamond industry. From a country that neither mines nor consumes the stone in a big way, Surat supplies nine out of 10 polished diamonds worldwide. But this Rs.90,000-crore pure processing industry has lost a little bit of its sparkle in the last year-and-a-half, with exports dipping by 14% Y-o-Y to $10 billion between April and September 2015. Apart from several interrelated global factors, manufacturers here blame irrational local exuberance and financial impropriety for the current mess.