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Paper Manufacturers demanded Safeguard duty during the AGM of IPMA

With 10 per cent growth in per capita consumption in paper over the last one year, India has emerged as the fastest growing paper market in the world. From 7.5 kg per capita consumption in 2007-08, the figure has gone up to 8.3 kg.
“Pulp and paper industry is growing rapidly with an estimated CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 7-8% projected over the next decade. The installed capacity in the country is all set to grow to 11.2 Million Ton per annum by 2010 from the current levels of 9 Million Tons. IPMA Member Mills have already put in place a short and long term aggressive investment programme”, said Mr Pradeep Dhobale in his Presidential address at the 9th AGM of Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA).
More than Rs 13,000 crore of capital expenditure is targeted at capacity expansion, modernization and enhancement of efficiencies etc. by IPMA members mills in the next 2-3 years to add more than 3 million tons of capacity and improve cost competitiveness. The industry has invested over Rs.3,000 crore (USD 0.71 billion) to assimilate cleaner technologies in adherence to Charter of Corporate Responsibility for Environment Protection (CREP) put in force by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt. of India.
At the AGM, Mr Dhobale passed on the mantle of President IPMA to Mr M LPachisia, Managing Director, Orient Papers and Industries Limited. Mr.Madhukar Mishra, Managing Director, Star Paper Ltd. took over as Vice President of IPMA.
“No doubt the inevitable effects of economic slow down on Paper industry has slowly started showing up. However, several perceptible key drivers of growth capable of propelling the Indian paper industry are still very much in place and there is ample space for the paper producers, equipment and technology suppliers and more so for the trade players to draw an effective strategy to chart aggressive growth”, added Mr Dhobale.

Mr. Pradeep Dhobale welcoming Mr. Ajay Shankar at IPMA AGM
Mr. Pradeep Dhobale welcoming Mr. Ajay Shankar at IPMA AGM

At the same time, IPMA believes that in view of global melt-down the Asian paper market has become very vulnerable and major players in Indonesia and China are all set to push large quantities of coated and uncoated wood-free grades of paper into the Indian paper market. China has reportedly re- introduced export incentive recently which was withdrawn on protests from other global players.
In the AGM attended by Mr Ajay Shankar, Secretary DIPP, IPMA emphasized on enhancing the peak rate of Basic Custom Duty from current level of 10% to 15% on paper/paperboards as an effective measure to thwart the emerging threat of unbridled import. In this regard, IPMA has also asked for re- introducing the component of Special Additional Duty.
Paper industry in India is already being indirectly impacted by the large scale import of paper in the form of finished products i.e. books and periodicals, added Mr Dhobale.
The procedure for imposition of an Anti- Dumping Duty entails a long drawn affair, therefore, a pro-active action by the Government in form of WTO compatible safeguard duty would be most timely and appropriate, IPMA feels.
Industry has reiterated its demand for creation of a robust raw material base through implementation of Multi Stakeholders Partnership (MSP) model proposed by Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF).
Meanwhile, the industry led farm/social forestry have brought more than 2.25 lac hectares under pulp wood plantations, mainly degraded marginal lands of farmers in the process creating major employment in the remote areas in close proximity to the manufacturing facilities.
“Paper industry has evolved into an Agro-based industry from its earlier character of a forest-based industry”, emphasized Mr Dhobale.
IPMA’s agro-forestry initiative has also helped creating carbon sinks. Various measures taken by its Members to improve energy savings and increase energy efficiencies through adoption of green technologies have won international recognition.
The Indian paper industry accounts for about 1.6% of the world’s production of paper and paperboard. The estimated turnover of the industry is Rs 25,000 crore (USD 5.95 billion) approximately.
Quote from Mr Ajay Shankar, Secretary DIPP:
“Mr Ajay Shankar assured to positively look into the need for rationalizing DEPB rates for the paper industry. Regarding Technology Upgradation Fund urged by the industry, the DIPP secretary said that the Ministry of Commerce & Industry have been able to persuade the Planning Commission in this regard and the project details are likely to be finalized soon.”

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