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Demonetisation: Surat, world's diamond polishing hub, faces a big cut

In the third of a 6-part series, here's an assessment of the impact of demonetisation diamond and textile units in Surat

Vinay Umarji  |  Surat 

Demonetisation brings payments in Surat's diamond industry to grinding halt

It was the evening of November 8 and Surat-based diamantaire Arjanbhai Ambaliya's family was just back in their Gandhinagar hotel after a day of touristy travel through the city. They were already discussing the next vacation in Udaipur. But the following day, they were heading back to Surat, rather  depressed. 
 
had struck.
 
That is not the only change in plan in his family. Ambaliya, 46, is now having second thoughts about  going ahead with his son's wedding that was planned for February 1, 2017. "We might have to postpone it,"  says Ambaliya, whose polishing unit near Katargam is lying virtually defunct..
 
After it shut down for days at a stretch, the polishing unit opened to only five employees recently against the usual strength of 150. Along with his two brothers, Ambaliya is busy doing rounds of the banks to withdraw cash and pay his workers. He needs to send money home to his farmer father in as well. 
 
Rinkesh Shekhawala, 36, too has been helping his father, Pravinbhai (62), in the textile business. ‘’Everyday my son stands in the queue to withdraw cash to pay our workers. We have not been able to pay enough wages to them since November 9,’’ the father says. Not only have the orders dried up completely, orders prior to November 8 have also been cancelled. Their powerloom unit in Patel Industrial Society on Ved Road in Surat has been inactive for weeks. 
 
The current account withdrawal limit has meant that as against a daily requirement of Rs 3 lakh worth working capital, textile unit owners like Shekhawala have to suffice with Rs 50,000.
 
Surat polishes 95 per cent of all diamonds processed in the world. While size of the industry is estimated at around Rs 90,000 crore, the city houses close to 4,000 units of cutting and polishing. The textile industry is big too in the city, pegged at over Rs 60,000 crore. and textile industry together employ more than 2 million people in this southern city of Gujarat bordering Mumbai. The number number assumes significance if one were to compare with the IT industry, which employs around 3 million.
 
Besides textile and diamond, agriculture too has been hit. For instance, sugarcane farmers with decent land holding like Pinakin Patel of Sadlav village in Navsari, 40 km from Surat, are still able to carry through since their farm expenses are incurred by the sugar factories to whom they supply. November is the harvesting month for sugarcane and sowing month for rabi crops. ‘’However, the situation may get tough for us if the cash crunch continues," says Patel.
 
However, (50), who has to travel 15 km daily from his village Mohni to the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Surat to sell vegetables, it has been a nightmare since November 8. Dabhi, who mostly deals in brinjal, ladies finger and string beans, has seen prices fall by over 50%. 
 
This is because while sugarcane and rice are sold mostly in large quantities of quintals and tonnes, thereby facilitating cheque payments, vegetables and fruits are sold in smaller quantity of 5 kg, 10 kg and 20 kg, making cash payments imperative.
 
Then there are others like Rajni Dudhat, a textile processing unit worker, who has been asked to stay at home for at least two months by his employer for want of work. "As against a monthly requirement of Rs 10000, we have reduced our consumption severely and are managing our house with Rs 3000," said Dudhat, 40, who had to put off shopping for a wedding in the family. To make the ends meet, Dudhat plans to borrow some from family and friends.
 
While workers like Dudhat have been sent home, employers like Shekhawala fear that the rest of the workers who were supposed to return from Diwali holidays may now extend their stay for at least two months. "This could lead to mass exodus of workers who hail from other states like Bihar and Odisha,’’ says Shekhawala.
 
Situation could only ease if cash could be mobilised at the earliest, according to Surat chairman Raman Jani. Till then, farmers, traders and buyers are transacting mostly in credit. 

Next: Moradabad


Highlight box:

1. About 2 million people employed directly and indirectly in textiles, 40% rendered jobless
2. 40% units are shut, while another 40% are running at less than 50% capacity

3. The weaving and processing industry alone produce roughly 80 million metres of fabric daily

4. The Surat textile industry is estimated to do a turnover of over Rs 60,000 in weaving and processing

 5. Farm transactions, especially in vegetables and fruits down by 20-50%

6. Housing 4000 units, industry estimated at over Rs 90000 crore

 7. Over 80% small and medium diamantaires hit due to cash crunch 

Demonetisation: Surat, world's diamond polishing hub, faces a big cut

In the third of a 6-part series, here's an assessment of the impact of demonetisation diamond and textile units in Surat

In the third of a 6-part series, here's an assessment of the impact of demonetisation diamond and textile units in Surat
It was the evening of November 8 and Surat-based diamantaire Arjanbhai Ambaliya's family was just back in their Gandhinagar hotel after a day of touristy travel through the city. They were already discussing the next vacation in Udaipur. But the following day, they were heading back to Surat, rather  depressed. 
 
had struck.
 
That is not the only change in plan in his family. Ambaliya, 46, is now having second thoughts about  going ahead with his son's wedding that was planned for February 1, 2017. "We might have to postpone it,"  says Ambaliya, whose polishing unit near Katargam is lying virtually defunct..
 
After it shut down for days at a stretch, the polishing unit opened to only five employees recently against the usual strength of 150. Along with his two brothers, Ambaliya is busy doing rounds of the banks to withdraw cash and pay his workers. He needs to send money home to his farmer father in as well. 
 
Rinkesh Shekhawala, 36, too has been helping his father, Pravinbhai (62), in the textile business. ‘’Everyday my son stands in the queue to withdraw cash to pay our workers. We have not been able to pay enough wages to them since November 9,’’ the father says. Not only have the orders dried up completely, orders prior to November 8 have also been cancelled. Their powerloom unit in Patel Industrial Society on Ved Road in Surat has been inactive for weeks. 
 
The current account withdrawal limit has meant that as against a daily requirement of Rs 3 lakh worth working capital, textile unit owners like Shekhawala have to suffice with Rs 50,000.
 
Surat polishes 95 per cent of all diamonds processed in the world. While size of the industry is estimated at around Rs 90,000 crore, the city houses close to 4,000 units of cutting and polishing. The textile industry is big too in the city, pegged at over Rs 60,000 crore. and textile industry together employ more than 2 million people in this southern city of Gujarat bordering Mumbai. The number number assumes significance if one were to compare with the IT industry, which employs around 3 million.
 
Besides textile and diamond, agriculture too has been hit. For instance, sugarcane farmers with decent land holding like Pinakin Patel of Sadlav village in Navsari, 40 km from Surat, are still able to carry through since their farm expenses are incurred by the sugar factories to whom they supply. November is the harvesting month for sugarcane and sowing month for rabi crops. ‘’However, the situation may get tough for us if the cash crunch continues," says Patel.
 
However, (50), who has to travel 15 km daily from his village Mohni to the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Surat to sell vegetables, it has been a nightmare since November 8. Dabhi, who mostly deals in brinjal, ladies finger and string beans, has seen prices fall by over 50%. 
 
This is because while sugarcane and rice are sold mostly in large quantities of quintals and tonnes, thereby facilitating cheque payments, vegetables and fruits are sold in smaller quantity of 5 kg, 10 kg and 20 kg, making cash payments imperative.
 
Then there are others like Rajni Dudhat, a textile processing unit worker, who has been asked to stay at home for at least two months by his employer for want of work. "As against a monthly requirement of Rs 10000, we have reduced our consumption severely and are managing our house with Rs 3000," said Dudhat, 40, who had to put off shopping for a wedding in the family. To make the ends meet, Dudhat plans to borrow some from family and friends.
 
While workers like Dudhat have been sent home, employers like Shekhawala fear that the rest of the workers who were supposed to return from Diwali holidays may now extend their stay for at least two months. "This could lead to mass exodus of workers who hail from other states like Bihar and Odisha,’’ says Shekhawala.
 
Situation could only ease if cash could be mobilised at the earliest, according to Surat chairman Raman Jani. Till then, farmers, traders and buyers are transacting mostly in credit. 

Next: Moradabad

Highlight box:

1. About 2 million people employed directly and indirectly in textiles, 40% rendered jobless
2. 40% units are shut, while another 40% are running at less than 50% capacity

3. The weaving and processing industry alone produce roughly 80 million metres of fabric daily

4. The Surat textile industry is estimated to do a turnover of over Rs 60,000 in weaving and processing

 5. Farm transactions, especially in vegetables and fruits down by 20-50%

6. Housing 4000 units, industry estimated at over Rs 90000 crore

 7. Over 80% small and medium diamantaires hit due to cash crunch 

image
Business Standard
177 22

Demonetisation: Surat, world's diamond polishing hub, faces a big cut

In the third of a 6-part series, here's an assessment of the impact of demonetisation diamond and textile units in Surat

It was the evening of November 8 and Surat-based diamantaire Arjanbhai Ambaliya's family was just back in their Gandhinagar hotel after a day of touristy travel through the city. They were already discussing the next vacation in Udaipur. But the following day, they were heading back to Surat, rather  depressed. 
 
had struck.
 
That is not the only change in plan in his family. Ambaliya, 46, is now having second thoughts about  going ahead with his son's wedding that was planned for February 1, 2017. "We might have to postpone it,"  says Ambaliya, whose polishing unit near Katargam is lying virtually defunct..
 
After it shut down for days at a stretch, the polishing unit opened to only five employees recently against the usual strength of 150. Along with his two brothers, Ambaliya is busy doing rounds of the banks to withdraw cash and pay his workers. He needs to send money home to his farmer father in as well. 
 
Rinkesh Shekhawala, 36, too has been helping his father, Pravinbhai (62), in the textile business. ‘’Everyday my son stands in the queue to withdraw cash to pay our workers. We have not been able to pay enough wages to them since November 9,’’ the father says. Not only have the orders dried up completely, orders prior to November 8 have also been cancelled. Their powerloom unit in Patel Industrial Society on Ved Road in Surat has been inactive for weeks. 
 
The current account withdrawal limit has meant that as against a daily requirement of Rs 3 lakh worth working capital, textile unit owners like Shekhawala have to suffice with Rs 50,000.
 
Surat polishes 95 per cent of all diamonds processed in the world. While size of the industry is estimated at around Rs 90,000 crore, the city houses close to 4,000 units of cutting and polishing. The textile industry is big too in the city, pegged at over Rs 60,000 crore. and textile industry together employ more than 2 million people in this southern city of Gujarat bordering Mumbai. The number number assumes significance if one were to compare with the IT industry, which employs around 3 million.
 
Besides textile and diamond, agriculture too has been hit. For instance, sugarcane farmers with decent land holding like Pinakin Patel of Sadlav village in Navsari, 40 km from Surat, are still able to carry through since their farm expenses are incurred by the sugar factories to whom they supply. November is the harvesting month for sugarcane and sowing month for rabi crops. ‘’However, the situation may get tough for us if the cash crunch continues," says Patel.
 
However, (50), who has to travel 15 km daily from his village Mohni to the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Surat to sell vegetables, it has been a nightmare since November 8. Dabhi, who mostly deals in brinjal, ladies finger and string beans, has seen prices fall by over 50%. 
 
This is because while sugarcane and rice are sold mostly in large quantities of quintals and tonnes, thereby facilitating cheque payments, vegetables and fruits are sold in smaller quantity of 5 kg, 10 kg and 20 kg, making cash payments imperative.
 
Then there are others like Rajni Dudhat, a textile processing unit worker, who has been asked to stay at home for at least two months by his employer for want of work. "As against a monthly requirement of Rs 10000, we have reduced our consumption severely and are managing our house with Rs 3000," said Dudhat, 40, who had to put off shopping for a wedding in the family. To make the ends meet, Dudhat plans to borrow some from family and friends.
 
While workers like Dudhat have been sent home, employers like Shekhawala fear that the rest of the workers who were supposed to return from Diwali holidays may now extend their stay for at least two months. "This could lead to mass exodus of workers who hail from other states like Bihar and Odisha,’’ says Shekhawala.
 
Situation could only ease if cash could be mobilised at the earliest, according to Surat chairman Raman Jani. Till then, farmers, traders and buyers are transacting mostly in credit. 

Next: Moradabad

Highlight box:

1. About 2 million people employed directly and indirectly in textiles, 40% rendered jobless
2. 40% units are shut, while another 40% are running at less than 50% capacity

3. The weaving and processing industry alone produce roughly 80 million metres of fabric daily

4. The Surat textile industry is estimated to do a turnover of over Rs 60,000 in weaving and processing

 5. Farm transactions, especially in vegetables and fruits down by 20-50%

6. Housing 4000 units, industry estimated at over Rs 90000 crore

 7. Over 80% small and medium diamantaires hit due to cash crunch 

image
Business Standard
177 22