Plasticking sustainable growth

Plasticking sustainable growth

8:43 AM, 16th January 2018
Harshad Desai, Chairman, All India Plastic Manufacturers’ Association (AIPMA) Seminar Committee
Harshad Desai, Chairman, All India Plastic Manufacturers' Association (AIPMA) Seminar Committee.

In an interview, Harshad Desai, Chairman, All India Plastic Manufacturers’ Association (AIPMA) Seminar Committee with Chemical Today magazine talks at length how plastics can help shape a better life. He also speaks about the dire need for the industry to innovate and be sustainable enough to survive.

Desai is also the Co-chairman of AIPMA Technology Centre, Business Advisor at Bloom Seal Packaging Pvt Ltd and Ex-executive Director at Hitech Plast Ltd.

By Shivani Mody

Opportunity for the plastics industry in India. 

Plastic products give great opportunities to entrepreneurs, especially small and medium scale industries. Plastics are used in household, packaging, pharma, medical, engineering etc fields. There is a greater awareness for using grinding-scrap and recycled plastics for auto, road, clothing, carpets etc. Only the PET bottle scrap industry is more than Rs 3500 crore industry, excluding the use of HD, LD and PP etc material’s consumption, which is much more than PET and other engineering plastics. Plastic wastage is being used for fertilisers, fuel energy, road building etc. Approximately 2 ton of scrap is used in 1 km of road building. There are different grade of plastics for each fields. There are unlimited opportunities and prospects for plastic products in all fields. Today household, pharma and automobile industries are making maximum use of plastic components.

R&D and innovation in the plastics industry. 

In India, processors are competing with international products & markets, with latest technology & machines. Many governments e.g. Andhra govt. have started making plastic roads. Various governments have started implementing the law for use of plastic scrap and education, awareness and training is being given to manufacturers & users. Today in India, 70 percent of plastic is being reused in form of second-scrap plastic in processing products. Organizations like All India Plastic Manufacturers Association (AIPMA) and Plastindia Foundation, are regularly organizing exhibitions, seminars to educate and bring the latest technology in India, giving all knowledge to manufacturers to produce world-class products and compete in the open market. We have institute like CIPET to help and guide-train the youngsters, students. AIPMA is taking a lead in setting up an international standard Plastic University to educate and train people. AIPMA is also starting a one of its kind training and testing centre in Mumbai, at AIPMA house II, which will also have R&D facilities.

Improving plastics industry’s business activities in Asia Pacific markets. 

The original RCEP negotiations among sixteen partner countries, including Ten ASEAN Member countries and its dialogue partners Australia-China-Japan-New Zealand- South Korea are at crucial stage, India already has FTA agreement with ASEAN as a whole & comprehensive bilateral FTA agreement with Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. India is also negotiating separate bilateral FTA with Australia and New Zealand for several years. On the other hand, India has had limited experience in undertaking trade negotiations with China.

Only agreement with both countries is part of Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) that is limited preferential trade agreement. India and China trade has grown manifold, India’s import in 2015-16 was about $61.7 billion but the export value was only $9.1 billion in the same year. India has to improve here. The methodology should be studied to understand how the other trade partners are faring with China with the use of FTA.

Our export promotion council needs to study and meet the industry representatives, government officials, think tanks and our embassy. Indian government & industries will have to take bold steps to cut imports and increase export to Asian countries. We will have to give priority for the import of essential products, mother machineries & necessities. At the same time control the import of non-essentials and other household, electronic products by imposing higher duties to protect small and medium scale industries. Indian government should give extra incentives to export-oriented industries to improve the balance of payment.

Making plastics environment friendly & sustainable.  

Indian industries should be trained and educated to basic environmental and friendly manufacturing processes. Manufacturers should not produce films, bags below 50 microns, people should be trained to keep dry and wet scraps separately. AIPMA and other organisations have started activities in this direction by putting bottle grinding machines at various places and metro stations. At present more than 12,000 numbers of bottles as being grinded at metro stations. AIPMA has generously contributed by way of finance and physical interaction to clean Versova beach and help in Swachh Bharat program. AIPMA is also encouraging the use of Bio degradable plastics and steps are already being taken for the maximum use of bio degradable plastics to make environment clean and healthy. AIPMA with the help of various governments is taking the initiative to establish plastic parks at various locations, keeping in mind the environment friendly atmosphere.

Suggestions for the chemical/raw material providers for the plastics industry.

Plastic products are petroleum products. All raw materials are blended with chemicals. The different grades like PVC, PET etc, are made with the help of chemical formulation. The proper blending, composition can help standardise the products and processes, to reduce pollution.

Issues faced by Indian plastics manufacturers.

Plastic products are replacing aluminium, paper and glass. The basic raw material of this industry is petroleum hence the major worry is fluctuation in basic price of raw materials. Since it is not controlled the prices keep changing and it is difficult to control the production and selling prices. In India, electricity is yet another major worry. The cost is high and supply is not regular. Electricity is nearly 1/3rd of the cost of plastic products.

GST has also played a big role by reducing the percentage in some products, but it still needs correction. Government should charge NIL duty GST on scrap to encourage the use of more scrap and help control the cost. Exporters are facing major problem in collecting their GST refund from the government. In spite of assurance from various departments, the process is still not user friendly. Exporters should be given higher subsidies and more encouragement to help the industry to compete in international market. Indian industries should make maximum use of second- scrap materials. Training centres and institute should help the plastic industries to meet today’s quality and quantity demands. Indian entrepreneurs are capable to deliver the goods and be leaders in international market.

© Chemical Today Magazine


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