Petrochem policy to soften raw supply, Rs 40,000 crore investment

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New Delhi, Sept 28 (UNI) The Government today unveiled the National Policy on Petrochemicals with thrust on liberalising the feedstock supply for petro-chemical complexes, setting up of dedicated plastic parks and development of research and development, with an expected investment of over Rs 40,000 crore over the next five years.

The Policy aims at enhancing the per capita consumption of plastic by 2011-12, from the present to 12.5 kg, and making the Indian chemical industry as a major global sourcing hub in petrochemicals and plastics, particularly in Asia. It also envisions an increase in ethylene capacity from the current level of 2.7 million tonnes to 6.9 million tonnes in next five years.

At present, per capita consumption of polymer is about 4.7 kg as against the world average of 25 kg and that of China at 30 kg.

India is placed at 12th position by volume globally, while it is the third largest in Asia, with an estimated investment of 60 billion dollars. The Indian domestic petrochemicals turnover is estimated at worth 35 billion dollars.

Releasing the Policy at a function 'India-Global Sourcing Hub for Petrochemicals and Plastics', Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said a nodal advisory body--Plastic Development Council-- will be set up with the establishment of centres of excellence, promotion of plastics in thrust areas and development of biodegradable polymers.

It also seeks to increase investment both upstream and downstream sectors, enhancing the competitiveness of the downstream plastic processing industry, achieving environmentally sustainable growth and plastic waste management and recycling through technological upgradation.

Currently, there are around 22,000 registered petrochemical manufacturers with unregistered ones excelling them at around 25,000.

Under the Policy, 'Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Regions' (PCPIRs) would be set up and three proposals from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka have already been received, Mr Paswan said.

The industry, at present, employs about one million people and accounts for 14 per cent in the general Index for Industrial Production (IIP) and 17.6 per cent in the manufacturing sector, thereby contributing three per cent to the GDP.

Overall, the petrochemical industry contributes 20 per cent of the total chemicals' output.

However, the Indian domestic polymer capacity now stands at a low level of 5.2 million tonnes, about three per cent of the global polymer capacity estimated at 170 million tonnes.

With waste plastic having an adverse effect on the enviroment, the Minister asked the industry to enhance the awareness on the usefulness of the plastic material, reduce littering habits and to promote organised reprocessing and recycling of the used plastic material with appropriate eco-friendly technology.

The plastic recycling sector has a potential of generating 3.3 million employment in the next five years, he added.

The growth of polymers in 1990s was around 2.3 times to the GDP growth and has a tremendous potential in areas of food, water security, clothing and textiles, industrial applications, IT industry and agrciultural area.

UNI

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