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Rubber industry calls for a national policy on rubber

KOCHI: Rubber industry in India has urged the Government for formulating a national policy on rubber on the lines of national policies for petroleum, textiles and IT. 

All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA) president Niraj Thakkar said rubber is a sunrise industry in India with immense potential for growth if policy enablers are put in place. A national policy on rubber is critical to optimise the potential of the sector, he said in a report issued along the annual report of AIRIA. 

India is the world's fourth largest producer and second largest consumer of natural rubber; and the third largest consumer of all the rubbers put together. The 
consumption of synthetic rubber has been increasing at more than 20% year-on-year for the past five years. However with Vietnam, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other NR producing countries aggressively vying for a stake in the global rubber product manufacturing, challenges for the Indian rubber industry are likely to go up if competitiveness of Indian rubber manufacturing is not enhanced, he said. 

AIRIA is already in dialogue with various agencies to draft a vision 2020/2025 document for the industry from the rubber product manufacturers' perspective. It has also sought the suggestions of Rubber Board chairman Sheela Thomas on the national rubber policy. 

The rubber industry, particularly, the small scale manufacturers are suffering from various issues such as high input costs, inverted duty structure, cheap imports and ad hoc signing of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) whereby import of finished rubber products to India is encouraged. The inverted duty structure has created an economic disadvantage for the domestic rubber manufacturers who have been threatened by cheaper imports from other countries.