Budget 2023: Harvesting Lab Grown Diamonds
The Union Budget 2023 identified lab grown diamonds as an emerging sector guided by technology. Lab grown diamonds (LDGs) are diamonds that are created in a laboratory setting using advanced technological processes that mimic the conditions under which natural diamonds are formed in the Earth. They have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as mined diamonds, and are virtually indistinguishable from them. Lab grown diamonds are often referred to as “synthetic diamonds” or “cultured diamonds.”
India is a global leader in the cutting and polishing of natural diamonds, contributing about three-fourths of the global turnover by value. “With the depletion in deposits of natural diamonds, the industry is moving towards lab grown diamonds and it holds huge promise,” Nirmala Sitaraman said. Recognising the immense potential for creation of job opportunities and environmental benefits, the Budget gave new impetus to LDGs.
In an effort to boost indigenous production, the Hon’ble Finance Minister stated that a research and development grant will be given to one of the IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) for five years. Moreover, to boost domestic manufacturing, a reduction of custom duty on seeds used to make lab grown diamonds was announced. This will lower the cost of production.
In a stride towards sustainability, this move will reduce India’s carbon footprint. The diamond industry is often criticised for its unethical practices employed in diamond mines and polishing procedures. Lab grown diamonds will ensure better labour practices. The measures administered by the Budget will increase the market share of LDGs and render it an independent market, while ensuring affordability.