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Rubber industry body wants tech upgradation fund

NEW DELHI, MAY 4:

The rubber industry has sought a technology upgradation fund — on the lines of the textiles sector — to stand up to growing competition, mainly from China.

At a two-day National Rubber Conference here, the Rs 60,000-crore sector, which accounts for a large number of micro, small and medium enterprises, has sought the incentive as some units had started shunning manufacturing in favour of rubber trading.

According to the All India Rubber Industries Association , it was cheaper to import finished rubber goods than raw material, which was leading to this worrisome trend.

In India, around 35,000 rubber products are being manufactured by approximately 6,000 units, 5,500 of which are MSMEs, which are not in step with changing technologies.

Since acquiring new technology is expensive, a fund for technology upgrades was the need of the hour, the apex industry body said.

It has also sought lower import duties on natural rubber, as domestic production was far lower than consumption by the industry.

“Currently, the import duty on natural rubber comes to 12.5 per cent while finished rubber goods can be imported at a duty ranging between 2.5 and 10 per cent. In China, the import of natural rubber enjoys duties of less than 5 per cent,” it said.

Madhav Lal, Secretary, MSME Ministry, urged the small-scale sector to tap the benefits of the Public Procurement Policy, which mandates 20 per cent of procurement by public sector units from the MSME sector.

Source: Hindu Business Line

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