Paving the Way for a Sustainable Natural Stone Industry in India

The overall objective of the project is to provide technical guidance to tripartite partners in Rajasthan to develop a state-wide strategy to pave the way for a sustainable natural stone industry in India, paying particular attention to the situation of women and youth.

Project background

India ranks third in terms of global production of natural stones, and accounts for an 11 per cent share of the global market. Rajasthan is a major contributor to country’s mining output. It is an important source of employment and income in the state, often providing entry points to low-skilled, rural , seasonal migrants, despite influx of new industries in the state in recent years. The state has the potential to develop into a global mining hub. There are enormous deposits of sandstone in Rajasthan covering districts of Dholpur, Bharatpur, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur, Tonk, Bundi, Jhalawar, Kota, Bhilwara and Chittorgadh. Rajasthan accounts for some 90 per cent of India’s sandstone sector.

However, the sector is also mired with high prevalence of informality in the supply chain and incidence of illegal mining , which constrains ability of the State to optimise the full potential of the industry. According to Rajasthan Mineral Policy 2015, the mining sector provides direct employment to about 700 to 800 thousand persons and indirect employment to about 2.2 to 2.5 million persons in the state. The Department of Mines & Geology, GoR report for the Financial Year 2017-18, estimates that there 229,522 persons in employment in the quarries, which excludes workers employed directly or indirectly in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), such as cutting or polishing operations, traders and exporters or those working in transport, warehouses and retail.

With the sector increasingly facing global competition, modernisation through technology use and logistics innovations, coupled with rising concern from destination countries regarding reducing environmental footprint and decent work deficit, there is a need to prepare the sector to respond to current and emerging market trends to sustain its competitiveness and growth. The urgency for developing an evidence-based strategy for sustainable development of natural stone mining industry is critical considering responsible production and purchase is assuming growing significance among international buyers, in particular, Europe.

The project will therefore address this by supporting the ILO tripartite partners in Rajasthan in the design, adoption and implementation of a state-wide strategy, taking into account the special characteristics of the natural stone production in the State.

Project objectives

The specific objectives of the project are as follows:
  1. State-wide tripartite strategy for the production and export of sustainable natural stones in Rajasthan taking into account the situation of women and youth.
  2. Tripartite constituents in Rajasthan have the capacity to implement the new strategy, in compliance with national labour laws and international labour standards.
  3. Strategic dialogue with existing and potential public and private sector buyers and investors initiated to secure support for the new strategy.

Implementing partners

  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • State Government of Rajasthan
  • Workers' organization in Rajasthan
  • Employers' organization in Rajasthan

Target beneficiaries

Beneficiaries include the owners, managers and workers in the natural stone quarries and the processing units in the supply chain of natural stone industry in Rajasthan, in particular, the women and youths in rural areas dependent for their livelihoods on this sector.

The indirect beneficiaries of this project are policy-makers and officials from relevant State departments and institutions, as well as employers’ and workers’ organizations who have membership spread across in the supply chain of natural stone industry.

For further information please contact:

Ms Sudipta Bhadra
Senior Programme Officer
ILO DWT for South Asia and Country Office for India