Agri Business

Centre asked to regulate rubber imports

V. Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on August 27, 2015

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce has suggested need-based imports of natural rubber depending on the gap between domestic production and consumption.

The committee headed by Chandan Mitra also asked the Centre to regulate imports during peak season through designated ports to ensure quality and prevent pressure on domestic prices,

Presenting its 119{+t}{+h} report on ‘Rubber Industry in India’ to Rajya Sabha, the committee noted that the steep decline in rubber prices since last year have called for an immediate intervention to arrest further price drop. Unless necessary measures are taken, there is a possibility of growers shifting to other crops.

The Centre should firm up an efficacious price stabilisation fund scheme that compensates the growers reasonably in times of price distress, the panel said.

Besides reconstituting the Rubber Board within three months, the committee recommended appointing a full time Chairman for the Board and filling up the post of a Rubber Production Commissioner at the earliest.

The Union Home Ministry should also extend full support to the Rubber Board in promoting rubber cultivation in the left wing extremism affected states such as Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.

There were also suggestions to broaden the role of the Rubber Board as a regulatory body and development agency. This would bring synthetic rubber and reclaimed rubber within its ambit to offer a balanced development of the industry.

The committee noted that the quantum of subsidy for replantation was not adequate and it should be increased suitably to optimally support replanting costs. There were also recommendations to revisit the agriculture income tax structure on rubber plantations, as they act as a hindrance in achieving optimal production and productivity.

On rubber goods industry, the panel noted that the tariff structure on import of raw material was not the cause of difficulties. The problem is rather deep, calling for urgent structural reforms to address the inherent constraints and boost the country’s non tyre sector.

It was also recommended to review free trade agreements such as ASEAN FTA, Indo-Sri Lankan Trade Agreement, Indo-Singapore Trade Agreement, Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement, India-Malaysia Agreement, SAFTA Agreement etc to avoid India becoming a dumping ground for cheap tyres.

To promote the use of Natural Rubber Modified Bitumen in road construction, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and state governments should earmark a certain percentage of their total road construction for NRMB roads.

According to the committee, the running of the Dunlop tyre plant would help create a market for rubber growers of NE region and would also incentivise taking up of rubber plantation in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh in a robust manner. A rubber park in PPP mode on the land of Dunlop India can be explored.

In case the two non operational tyre plants – Dunlop and Tyre Corporation of India Ltd – cannot be revived, the committee suggested that the plants could be converted into Centres of Excellence for rubber skill development.

Considering the inordinate delay in formulating a national policy on rubber, the panel asked the Government to announce it in three months to address the concerns and issues affecting the sector.

Published on August 27, 2015
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