The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce has suggested the need-based import 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 in the peak season through the designated ports to ensure quality and prevent pressure on domestic prices.

Presenting its 119th report on the ‘Rubber Industry in India’ to the Rajya Sabha, the committee said the steep decline in rubber prices since last year called for an immediate intervention to arrest a 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 growers reasonably in times of price distress, the panel said.

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

The Home Ministry should also extend full support to the Rubber Board in promoting rubber cultivation in the Left wing extremist affected states such as Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, 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 ensure balanced development of the industry.