The Indian rubber industry, with an estimated size of Rs 60,000 crore, is expected to be valued at Rs 1 lakh crore over the next four years, said Niraj Thakkar, president, the All-India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA). He was speaking to Express over phone, in connection with the upcoming India Rubber Expo 2013.
He added that Kerala enjoys the lion’s share of the total rubber production in the country. But the Government and the Rubber Board are taking steps to start natural rubber production in the North East, especially in Tripura. The seventh India Rubber Expo and Tyre Show 2013 organised by the All-India Rubber Industries Association is scheduled to be held from January 22 to 24 at the Bombay Exhibition Center, NSE Complex, Mumbai.
Niraj Thakkar opined that rubber prices would reach Rs 170 to Rs 175 per kg by March this year from the current Rs 161 per kg. He added that the slowdown in the industry is a major reason behind the drop in rubber prices.
“India is the second largest consumer and the fourth largest producer of rubber in the world. Kerala accounts for about 92 per cent of the total production in the country. There are about 6,000 rubber products manufacturing units in the country, out of which 5,500 are small-scale units. As many as five million people are associated with the industry in the country. Since the manufacturing sector contributes immensely for the growth of the economy, the government should provide the necessary assistance,” Thakkar said.
It is for the first time that the world rubber industry is gathering under one roof for the India Rubber Expo 2013. The show will see around 25,000 visitors and 550 participating companies from India and abroad.
Commenting on the challenges being faced by the industry, Thakkar said that the industry demand is to abolish the 10 per cent import duty on rubber. Currently, there is a cess of `2 per kg of rubber and it should be either removed or reduced to a moderate level, he added.