Towards a sustainable and resilient natural stone industry in Rajasthan

The ILO is jointly organizing with the Government of Rajasthan, India, the virtual meeting “Promoting a sustainable and resilient natural stone industry in Rajasthan: Unveiling the Rajasthan Natural Stone Strategy 2021-2025”.

The purpose of the meeting is to introduce the final “Rajasthan Natural Stone Strategy 2021-2025: Sustainably and responsibly enhancing the productivity and competitiveness of Rajasthan’s natural stone industry” to the tripartite constituents in India as well as to existing and potential public and private sector buyers, investors and industry stakeholders in Europe.

The meeting will take place on 29 September 2021 from 13:00 to 14:30 (CEST) and will be chaired by His Excellency, Mr Ashutosh AT Pednekar, Secretary, Industries, Rajasthan. Participation is by invitation.

India ranks third in terms of global production of natural stones and accounts for an 11 per cent share of the global market. Rajasthan accounts for some 90 per cent of India’s sandstone sector. According to the Rajasthan Mineral Policy 2015, the mining sector provides direct employment to about 800,000 workers and indirect employment to about 2.2 to 2.5 million persons in the State. It remains an important source of employment and income, often providing entry points to low-skilled, rural, seasonal migrants, despite the influx of new industries in Rajasthan in recent years.

Rajasthan has the potential to become a global mining hub and to catalyse economic development and foster more and better quality jobs in the State. It also has the potential to generate substantial export revenues. However, significant social, economic, and environmental risks need to be mitigated. High start-up costs for formal production, slow and complicated licencing, limited enforcement and lack of supply chain transparency mean that many mines and quarries operate informally, and most often suffer from low productivity and conditions of work.

With the sector increasingly facing global competition, modernisation and logistics innovations, coupled with the rising concerns from destination countries regarding the industry’s environmental footprint and decent work deficits, the natural stone industry is preparing itself to respond to the current and emerging market trends to sustain its competitiveness and growth.

The ILO ‘Paving the way to a sustainable natural stone industry in India’ project, which is funded by the Government of Flanders, has supported the development of the above-mentioned strategy to sustainably and responsibly enhance the productivity and competitiveness of Rajasthan’s natural stone industry. The ILO has, in collaboration with the Government of Rajasthan, and in close consultation with employers’ and workers’ organizations in India, developed the strategy on the basis of an in-depth study of challenges and opportunities for productive employment and decent work in the natural stone mining industry supply chain in Rajasthan.