By Rahul Tikoo,
We faced an unprecedented crisis last year, saw a worst-ever contraction in the economy, but we also demonstrated tremendous resilience, and most sectors have been able to bounce back from the economic shock, including the Indian chemicals industry. We expect that the industry will continue to grow - Urbanization and evolving consumption patterns along with increasing per capita income will pave the way for sustained growth for the Indian chemicals industry as well as the overall manufacturing sector. In fact, India’s manufacturing sector has bounced back strongly and moved into a growth trajectory, and PMI manufacturing has been in an expansion zone for five consecutive months now.
Facilitating a consistent flow of foreign investments will be essential, and chemicals have been one of the key sectors that have attracted maximum FDI in the last year. Recognizing the potential of this sector, the government has already outlined a strategy in line with its call for an Atmanirbhar Bharat and we hope that efforts and stimulus to improve the competitiveness of the industry shall continue to be on the economic agenda.
We are at an inflection point of incredible opportunity, as timely infrastructural development, economic growth, alternate material replacements, and changing consumer preferences will unfold new avenues for growth for the Indian chemical sector. In the coming year, continued emphasis on research and innovation, reliance on digital technologies, ramping up of local production, and increasing exports will be critical, enabling us to become truly self-reliant while also establishing ourselves as the next global manufacturing hub.
Additionally, creating a robust supply chain and enabling easy procurement of key raw materials will help the Indian chemicals industry stay competitive and relevant, and will help increase FDI in the sector.
Lastly, a strong emphasis on generating employment will provide new opportunities for India’s young talent and leverage their skills and capabilities to take the industry to new levels of growth and innovation.
(Author is the Managing Director – India Sub-continent & Polyurethanes South Asia Business, Huntsman Corporation)