The ministry of commerce will be formulating a national policy on rubber, in lines of national policies for petroleum, textiles and information technology. The ministry is also in favour of increasing the import duties of rubber-based finished products to address the issues related to the inverted duty structure.
Development commissioner for rubber in the ministry of commerce J S Deepak has asked the industry to work out the details of the draft policy.
“Government has welcomed our suggestion of having a national policy for rubber. Development commissioner was positive to take it forward. In the next few months, the industry will undertake consultations with all the stakeholders including growers, machinery manufactures, synthetic rubber producers, manufacturers, importers, exporters and educational institutes. Their inputs will be discussed in the backdrop of existing policies affecting the sector and a draft report will be submitted,” said Niraj Thakkar, president of All India Rubber Industries Association.
According to him, the policy document will analyse the shortcomings and strengths of the industry. “Despite India being one of the largest producers and consumers of rubber, we do not have a direction for the future. The different stakeholders in the industry will find out where we are, where we want to be in five to 10 years and what needs to be done by the government and the stakeholders to achieve this,” he said.
AIRIA has already has sought the suggestions of Rubber Board.
The ministry of commerce was also in favour of increasing the import duties of finished products and lowering duties of some of the raw materials to address the inverted duty structure. “We expect a decision in this respect from the government soon,” he added. The inverted duty structure has rendered Indian manufacturing uncompetitive in the market flooded by cheaper products from China, Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
As per the ministry’s export import data bank, import of finished rubber products has gone by 100 per cent in the last three years from Rs 3810 crore in FY10 to Rs 7608 crore in FY13.