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Synthetic GEM STONES manufacturing - A Bonded labour Industry in INDIA

Child Labour , Gem Cutting , Bonded Labour

Synthetic GEM STONES manufacturing - A Bonded labour Industry in INDIA

Heard of Bonded Industrial estates ? !! Special economic Bonded Zones !! These are for Industrial promotion and development .

But In India Gem cutting and Polishing is an Industry which promotes Bonded labour and the associated precarious status.

Gem cutting and polishing is a traditional cottage-based industry. The introduction of synthetic gems is fairly recent, however, with the in India (Trichy) synthetic gem industry dating back only to the late 1980s.

Approximately 95 percent of the total workers in this industry are bonded and non-bonded women.

Even though this is a relatively young industry, the bonded labor system has managed to adapt and evolve with it as an estimated 100,000 of the 160,000 workers in this industry are believed to be bonded.
Bonded child laborers in the synthetic gem industry number between 8,000 and 10,000. Nearly all of them are members of the scheduled castes.

Synthetic gemstones are cut and polished in two districts of Tamil Nadu- Trichy and Pudukottai districts of the State Tamil Nadu ..

The industry produces for both domestic and export markets;
Its main product, the "American diamond" (cubic zirconium), generates annual revenues of 100 million rupees, or about three million U.S. dollars.

American Diamonds:
The government of India has actively promoted the growth of the synthetic gem industry. In 1990, it launched a scheme announced to be intended to combat unemployment in the Trichy area while boosting production of American diamonds.

Gem Park:
The scheme included the establishment of a "gem park" in the city, an institution devoted to "introducing the latest technology in cutting and polishing of American diamonds."

This new technology was brought in to replace the traditional methods, which were deemed to be unacceptable to the international market.
The government offered local artisans "scientific training" in the new methods, marketing support, and financial "assistance" in buying "the latest semi-automatic machines . . to make uniform calibrated stones."
Most of the participants in this scheme have been rural women.

Child Labor Booster:

A serious government oversight in undertaking this scheme was the failure to foresee its practical effect of increasing child labor.

There is a tendency for women workers' children to work alongside them, assisting in the process and thereby boosting the piece-rate wages, and frequently gem workers' young children accompany them and assist them with their work.

In this case, the government encouraged more women to enter the gem industry without taking steps to limit the influx of child workers. Safeguards against increasing child labor could have included the facilitation of school attendance, the providing of incentives for women to refrain from using their children in the workplace, or ensuring that the development of this industry was in compliance with Article 43 of the Indian Constitution, which states:

The State shall endeavor to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organization or in any other way, to all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities and, in particular, the State shall endeavor to promote cottage industries on an individual or cooperative basis in rural areas.

There are a minimum of four layers in the production of synthetic gemstones:
the jewelry merchant;
the producer, who ensures available product for the market;
the middleman, who secures the workers, often through debt bondage or an essential analog; and
the worker. Production is decentralized, taking place primarily in small workshops and private homes.

The gem industry is labor intensive, with every stage of the process requiring careful attention.

Some workers labor on their own machines (see "government scheme," below), while others work in factories of up to twenty machines. Older children are likely to be themselves bonded and working independently for a master. This practice of family "help" is encouraged by the piece-rate wage system


Conclusion :

Is this the effect of GLOBALIZATION ? or The effect of Materialistic Rat race??

The words Growth , Development also house a hidden meaning Exploitation , Deterioration !!!!!!!!!!

C.EASHWER – SINGAPORE
eashwer@pacific.net.sg
Published: 2006-04-20
Author: Chockalingam Eswaramurthi

About the author or the publisher
Iam a Professional writer dedicated to sharing the knowledge on topics of Public interest, be it Management , Leadership , Social service , World Politics , Personalities , Industries , Health , Computers , Policy making , Governments , Book review etc., Iam from Singapore . My e mail id is : eashwer@pacific.net.sg

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