Gadkari pitches for reducing paper imports

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari(Photo by PTI)

India needs to discourage large-scale paper imports to boost the domestic paper industry, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.

The MSME Minister also pitched for use of bamboo as a raw material by the industry as different types of papers can be made using bamboo. The government has allocated Rs 1,300 crore towards 'Bamboo Mission', he said.

"India is witnessing large-scale paper imports despite the presence of diversified paper sector in the country. I am especially concerned about the growth prospects of small scale paper and pulp industries, an important part of the MSME sector.

"The imports in the paper sector need to be discouraged while exports should be enhanced to support the domestic industry," Gadkari said in a video message at the inauguration of Paperex 2019.

He pitched for increasing the use of bamboo as it can be a win-win situation for the paper industry and the farmers.

JK Paper Managing Director Harshpati Singhania said, "Growth in the paper industry is moving from the developed world to the developing world. Consumption growth is declining in Europe and the Americas while the same is going up in Asia and some of the Latin American countries. Currently, India is the fastest growing paper market in the world”.

Singhania, who is also the founder President of the Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA), said servicing the growing requirement of paper is both an opportunity and a challenge for the industry. Large-scale import of cheap paper is meeting the demand which should have been met by the domestic industry.

Paperex, the largest conference for pulp and paper technology organized in Asia is sharply focussing on technologies to replace single-use plastic with paper and paperboard in an accelerated manner.

The conference is being organized by In paper International, the journal of Indian Agro & Recycled Paper Mills Association (IARPMA).

Paperex is designed to meet all the aspirations of technology seekers as the world’s latest and cost effective technologies will be presented during the 3-day conference, said P.G Mukundan, Secretary General IARPMA.

According to IARPMA, paper industry is expecting a big leap in growth from present consumption of 18.5 million tonne to 25 million tonne by 2025 due to emerging consumer trends which favor paper over non-biodegradable options. 

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