To curb production and sale of spurious chemicals, the government on Tuesday said it will make compliance of quality standards compulsory for 40 more chemicals that are locally-manufactured as well as imported.

Chemicals and Petrochemicals Secretary P Raghavendra Rao said government is also expected to soon introduce Harmonised System (HS) of coding for chemicals and petrochemicals imported in large volumes.

Currently, there are no prescribed mandatory standards and HS coding for chemicals and petrochemicals in the country. However recently for the first time, the government made standards compulsory for caustic soda.

HS coding is a standardised international system to classify globally traded products.

“We have already introduced mandatory standards for caustic soda. We are going to do it for more chemicals. We have identified 40 chemicals and the works is in progress,” Rao told PTI on the sidelines of a FICCI event.

The government’s aim in the next five years is to make mandatory standards for major chemicals that are manufactured locally as well as imported, he said.

Expressing concern over huge import of chemicals and petrochemicals, the Secretary said, “we import 25 per cent of the domestic requirement. We need to take steps to ensure non-essential imports come down and domestic production goes up.”

At present, the country’s annual net import of chemicals and petrochemicals stands at Rs 1.20 lakh crore, which is expected to touch Rs 3 lakh crore by 2024, if no steps are taken to check, he said.

“It is very scary situation. Our target is how do we reduce the import dependency without compromising on quality...,” he said and asked all stakeholders to put best efforts towards this direction.

On agro-chemicals, the secretary stressed on safe and judicious use of such products as he asked the companies to come up with new solutions to address the challenges posed by climate change in the farm sector.

UPL Ltd Global CEO Jaidev Shroff and Corteva AgriSciences Executive Vice President Rajan Gajaria said there are many challenges and opportunities in the sector.