Two brothers, Ganesh Hari Pethe and Waman Hari Pethe, with dreams in their heart and vision beyond centuries, in the year 1909 started their first jewellery showroom at Girgaon in Mumbai. Their dedication, devotion and transparent trade practices made the venture a huge success. Ashish Pethe belongs to the third generation of this family. He carries forward the legacy which has been established since the past 111 years. The next two generations from the family have already joined the business – so in all, they have five generations which engaged in the jewellery business. They specialise in traditional Maharashtrian jewellery. They are also known for their fusion jewellery – which blends contemporary design and traditional Maharashtrian designs.
Ashish Pethe has recently been elected the Chairman of GJC and with equal gusto takes forward the work of the council, now on behalf of the whole G & J industry spread out across India.
What are your immediate views on becoming the Chairman of GJC?
It is my privilege and honour and also a big responsibility to be holding this chair, especially during these testing times. The whole G & J industry is reeling under the impact of the pandemic. World over, gems and jewellery business has been adversely affected.
How has the pandemic affect the G & J industry?
On behalf of the GJC we will address the needs of the industry and try to create a working relation with the government so as to ensure that government policies are followed correctly. At the same time, we hope to represent the industry and its requirements.
The pandemic has substantially affected the G & J industry. We belong to the luxury segment – during crisis times the masses are reluctant to spend on luxuries. While this is true, it has been also been observed that the intrinsic value of gold is on the rise and gold is arguably the only investment in this day and age giving good returns on investment, so many are investing in gold.
People in need can depend on gold to see them through difficult times. The confidence in gold as a good investment option has been reinstated. When the vaccine rolls out we will surely see good days for the industry. GJC would also like to encourage diamond business.
How have you been associated with GJC?
GJC was formed in 2014 as G & J Trade Federation. I have been associated with it since its inception, however over the last 3-4 years I have been actively involved in its working.
What would be your immediate plans on behalf of GJC?
My foremost task would be to get the industry as systematized as possible. For long, people from our industry have retained their old way of doing business – it is important to formalize trade and move ahead at pace with rest of the world.
We would like to engage with the government and understand the government’s point of view – like in case of mandatory hallmarking etc. we would also like to keep the government informed of the ground realities – for implementation of the law at ground level, one has to establish an effective connect between the policy makers and the industry – which is spread in every nook and corner of this country. We want to partner with the government and make sure that laws are enacted in such a way that they are easily implemented at the ground level.
The other challenge for the GJC is its upcoming B2B exhibition scheduled in June-July 2021 – the GJS. We want to make this show one of the best shows in the world. In addition, we already have the ‘laabam’ programme – which is our education initiative. It conducts several educational activities for the benefit of many jewellers. We strive to bring the best know-how in this industry to every member. We would also like to bring together the youth in our industry and build a GJC youth-wing – which would be stronger, more confident and take the lead in many of our activities. We would like to encourage them to work for the industry as a whole. Youngsters are full of energy and new ideas. We want our youth to take the industry to the next level.
Can you outline your topmost priorities that you would like to address on behalf of GJC?
Two important matters of immediate concern are – first being, mandatory hallmarking. Here the problems are manifold for different jewellers from different parts of the country. The pandemic has created a lot of difficulties for many retailers. The industry is not yet ready to implement this order. Therefore we would like to request the government to give at least 6-8 months more in order to streamline the process – so that the orders are followed smoothly by every jeweller.
The second point is about the recent notification under PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002) – we would like to engage with the government to find out the best possible solution for both government and traders. As a council it is our duty to smoothen the process and work towards effective implementation of government orders with no disruption of the industry.
The New Year has just begun, what would be your message to the industry?
2020 has been a turbulent year for everyone. In the first few days of January, we have heard about the vaccine being rolled out and therefore I believe that the coming years are going to be excellent for the industry – I would urge every member of our esteemed industry to be prepared to do their best and reap good profits in this year – I wish everyone a fabulous New Year. And I am once again thankful to GJC for giving me this opportunity.