Millennium Post

Indian plastics industry to touch $20 billion by 2020

Indian plastics industry to touch $20 billion by 2020
Plastics have become a necessity today from its use in the form of a credit card — that unlocks the vaults of banks — to the flimsy carry bags that we tote the groceries in, but later end up in alleys, garbage dumps and even waterways to choke up and cause floods. Plastics remain a buoyant and much-needed industry that touches upon virtually every facet of modern day life in small and great ways from roller skates to rockets and its fuel.

The Indian Plastics Industry in India is poised for a massive growth to 20 million tonnes annually from the current eight million tonnes yearly, alongside being one of the biggest contributors to India’s GDP with a growth rate of between 12 per cent and 15 per cent per annum. It comprises over 50,000 manufacturers and employs over 40 lakh workers. The Government is considering a Technology Upgradation Fund  (TUF) for the plastics industry and top officials from the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals in the Union Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilisers would meet representatives of the Plastics Industry to work out a detailed proposal for the TUF scheme. The Plastics Industry is growing rapidly and is expected to touch $20 billion by the end of 2020. India has emerged as a preferred center for establishing manufacturing facilities for plastics goods. The Government has schemes for setting up plastic parks in cluster developments with two already being established in Madhya Pradesh and Orissa for which funds have been disbursed and the present focus is on technological upgradation with the plastics industry being urged to participate in a greater way in these related deliberations. Environmental damage has been caused by single-use carrybags which are responsible for the industry getting a negative image and the Government department is doing its best in supporting technology seminars on disposable plastics.

Avinash Joshi, joint secretary in the Ministry, said that the petrochemical industry is playing a key role in development of the economy. The plastics industry needs greater spending on research and development to meet the expected growth in future demand. ‘India has a low consumption level of barely 8 to 10 kg per person per annum that we need to increase, besides also the need to respond to global challenges through research and development and technology upgradation alongside considering finance as an investment rather than expenditure. We also face domestic limitations, insufficient banking facilities and, despite the growth, plastic has a bad image due to littering etc. People should come forward to change this negative image by being proactive to ensure a sustained and growing pace for the Industry,’  he said.

Plastics exporters are looking at tapping the Middle East and African countries alongside a 20 per cent growth in shipment of plastic products and 22 per cent in machinery. There is a huge potential in African countries that are witnessing much industrial growth, according to the Plastics Export Promotion Council (PEPC) sources. In 2011, India exported about $7.1 billion plastic products and  $150 million machinery – accounting for 2.3 per cent of total exports to countries like the USA, China, European Union, Middle East and Africa. Besides strengthening its footprint in Africa, the PEPC is looking at exploring opportunities in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, Romani and Poland.

‘AIPMA envisages an additional investment of 25,000 crores including SMEs which will help the industry in a big way,’ said Anandilal Oza, President, (AIPMA), while appealing to the Government for setting up special Plastic Parks across India to help the industry to flourish more. Currently Plastic Parks are taking shape in Northern India at Panipat in Haryana, and north Rajasthan, Dahej and Sanand in Gujarat, Narasapura and Harohalli in Karnataka, and Kerala, he said.

Despite the industry’s high growth rate, the Indian plastics industry is yet to realise its full potential, he said.  Oza said the AIPMA is also working closely with farmers – through initiatives like Plasticulture – to use plastics for enhancing farm productivity. However, bottlenecks have to be overcome if the Plastics Industry was to survive and grow, he said.

‘The bottlenecks comprise of tax structure. Plastic is a common man’s item and not a luxury. Hence the tax should be minimum. We have penetrated into many different sectors including healthcare, agriculture and horticulture (in canal lining and drip irrigation), automotive, water management, military and aviation. However, the costs of financing such ventures are high for SMEs who do 90 per cent conversion of the waste but instead have to face tightening of the screws on them by the banks where money is concerned.’

Lamenting the fact that trained manpower was available but not being utilised on the floor level, Oza urged for all ITI training centres to introduce courses in this regard. ‘The image of plastic is going bad and we need guidance from all concerned to portray a good image.’

Raju Desai, Chairman, PVI 2013, said one of the factors that indicate the country’s impending growth in the plastic industry is our per capita consumption – which is the lowest in the world – and the scope of reaching an augmented level of consumption thus remains certain due to the inevitable nature of plastics and its incorporation in everyday life. However, the amount of plastic consumed in India during the last 65 years is likely to reach the same consumption figure in barely six to seven years from now.
Dominick Rodrigues

Dominick Rodrigues

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