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GJEPC registers 750 workers under Parichay Card for Swasthya Kosh in Udupi; all India total nears 60,000

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GJEPC registers 750 workers under Parichay Card for Swasthya Kosh in Udupi; all India total nears 60,000

The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has been instrumental in driving the welfare of the gem and jewellery industry’s workers through a number of initiatives. In a recent development, the GJEPC conducted meetings with representatives of the Udupi District Gold & Silver Workers Association in the southern Indian state of Karnataka to register 750 workers under the Parichay card for Swasthya Kosh in early March 2023. This takes the total number of Parichay card holders to almost 60000 workers from across 60 cities.

The Parichay card is an initiative of GJEPC to recognize the skills and provide social security benefits to unattached sector workers. The card has a 10 year validity and can be availed across India. The objective is to create a comprehensive, verified database of gem and jewellery workers to provide them better job opportunities; to help them get financial support from banks and financial institutions, and provide better healthcare services through a free health insurance plan of Rs 25,000 sum assured. It assigns a unique identification number that also has a 2-way SMS verification system enabling the card holder for verification during transit of precious metals and stones.

The Swasthya Kosh fund has been established to seek voluntary monetary contributions from anyone in India or abroad who wishes to make a significant impact and touch the lives of the skilled artisans of the Indian gem and jewellery industry. All the money collected in the Swasthya Kosh is utilised toward paying the premiums for the FREE health insurance offered to all Parichay Cards holders. The Council estimates the scheme will require a fund of at least Rs 200 crores to cover 20 lakh workers. GJEPC continuously appeals to leading players from within and outside the gem and jewellery industry to contribute generously to the fund.

Vipul Shah, Chairman, GJEPC, said, “The GJEPC’s decision to register 750 workers in Udupi under the Parichay card is a significant step towards ensuring the welfare of the workers in the jewellery manufacturing hub. It is important to note that the gems and jewellery industry employs a large number of workers in the unorganised sector, who often do not have access to social security benefits. So far, Parichay card for Swasthya Kosh has covered more than 80,000 lives under the health insurance scheme.

Naresh Lathiya, Convener, MSME sub-committee, GJEPC, said, “GJEPC’s unique initiative of launching the Parichay card aims to ensure proper authentication of gem and jewellery workers for social security purposes, and to provide various benefits to karigars. This will also give them an authentic and credible identification of belonging to the industry. It is a proud moment for us that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be personally distributing Parichay cards to karigars, and her personal involvement will only hasten our process to complete the distribution of Parichay cards to all karigars throughout the country.”

The meetings with worker association representatives were held to ensure that the registration process is smooth and hassle-free for the workers. The GJEPC has also provided training to the representatives to enable them to guide the workers through the registration process, the entire enrollment process for the Parichay cards is completely digital in line with Digital India campaign launched by the Government of India.

In addition to providing social security benefits, the GJEPC had taken several other measures to support its workers during the pandemic. In addition to donating ₹20 crore to the PM Cares Fund, GJEPC had provided financial assistance to workers who have been affected by the pandemic, distributed PPE kits and hygiene kits, conducted vaccination drives, and donated medical equipment to hospitals.

The efforts of the GJEPC have received widespread appreciation from several stakeholders, including the government, industry leaders, and workers. These efforts serve as an example for other industries to follow, highlighting the importance of prioritising the well-being of workers and providing access to health schemes and benefits.

Courtesy: Solitaire International

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