India needs 20 bn USD investment in petrochemical sector

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Mumbai, Mar 5 (UNI) India needs 17 to 20 billion USD investment to double its capacity in the Petrochemical Sector, a top Government official said here today.

Addressing the second day session of International Petrochem Conference, organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Union Chemical&Petrochemicals secretary V S Sampathn said that India's potential in this sector lay in the huge market, low per capita consumption, qualified and technically trained manpower, transparent industrial policy, legal framework and competitively placed labour force.

Petrochemicals have not only supplemented but have substituted conventional materials, Mr Sampath said, adding that policy for promotion of investment in Petroleum Chemicals and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) and National Policy on Petrochemicals are the two major initiatives taken by his department.

Former ONGC Chairman and Hinduja Group Vice Chairman Subir Raha pointed out the need for a definitive statement from the Union Government that there are facilities available which would encourage investors to provide adequate infrastructure facilities needed to create deep water port facilities, inland logistics and to modify customs and excise regulation.

''The leap in GDP growth has come from the manufacturing growth and that specifies the importance of PCPIR'', he said.

CII National Committee Chairman on Petrochemicals and Haldia Petrochemicals Managing Director S K Bhowmik, pointed out that the Indian Petrochemical Industry should set long term targets of per capita consumption of plastic raw materials and build corresponding processing capabilities. ''There is lot to be done in the processing industry without which we will not be able to reach the potential consumption levels'', Mr Bhowmik said.

He also stressed on the need for ensuring financial health of the industry through equitable taxation regime to make investment worthwhile.

UNI CP/PP RN VKG1945

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