Kolkata, Sept 19 IBNS | 2 years ago

The Indian Paint Association (IPA) on Thursday held its 50th Annual General Meeting here.

MIC, Department of Environment and Public Works, West Bengal, Sudarsan Ghosh Dastidar said Haldia, which is a vital industrial hub in the state, was losing industrial potential due to the pollution embargo levied upon by the central government.

The embargo was holding back fresh investment from flowing to Haldia.

But Ghosh Dastidar announced here that adoption of proper pollution controlling norms have resulted in lowering the pollution index below the permissible level. He affirmed that after prolonged talks at the central ministry level, it has been possible to withdraw the pollution embargo in Haldia and in no time industry can begin its operations in this zone.

The state is undergoing some major infrastructural initiatives and introduction of PPP models have played pivotal role in the same. To ensure an all round development Ghosh Dastidar emphasised on the need to upgrade the infrastructure of the state.

The state government has already started upgrading six identified NHs as it believes a better connectivity augments better growth.

Ghosh Dastidar focused on the need of environment-friendly paint. He urged the industry to come forward and invest in R and D to innovate and develop novel, environment-friendly paints.

He believes that, "a collaborative research along with cutting edge technology can make our indigenous products compete with international pricing and products."

He assured that all the necessary assistance from state government to industrialists who would take up initiatives to develop business in the state.

Abhijit Roy, Managing Director and CEO, Berger Paints India Ltd, through his presentation gave an insight on the Indian paint industry and the challenges faced by it.

The Indian Paint Industry is worth Rs. 28,000 crores with 71 percent contribution coming from the decorative paint segment and balance 29 percent from the industrial paint segment with a steeping growth rate of 12 percent.

With economy at a decadal low of 5 percent economy is a facing crucial period. However, the strong savings, demographics and natural resources of the country would drive growth for it. The paint industry boasts a higher growth rate than GDP by 1.5 percent - 2.25 percent.

Roy went on to discuss the constraints faced by the industry both in the decorative and industrial paint segments. Firstly, the demarcation of the sector into red category delays getting necessary permissions. Upgradation of category is required to fasten up things.

Secondly, he pointed out that anti-dumping duty on raw materials is much higher and the soaring price of Titanium Dioxide, a vital RM in manufacturing of paint is raising the cost. Moreover, lack of skilled painters is a matter of great concern.

He said IPA has taken steps to set up a body to give out certifications to trained painter as part of initiatives to decrease the skills gap. The Paint industry is a promising industry with a scope of 15 lakh employment generation as it is in dire need of skilled painters.

For the industrial paint segment, Roy talked of the German Mitellstand model, which he thinks, if introduced in India can change the entire scenario of the industry as it creates niche players with razor-sharp focus.

Ramakanth V Akula, President, IPA, said, "The paint industry estimated at 3.11 million metric ton during 2011-12 has grown by about 6-8 percent in volume terms and 8-10 percent in value terms during 2012-13 inspite of the prevailing uncertain economic conditions."

To cater to the growing demand of paints in the country, manufacturers not only need to reach out to the new and emerging markets, but also enhance their capacities of their existing plants and setup new ones. Unfortunately, augmentation of capacities has become a major challenge for the industry since paint is still being considered as a harmful and hazardous chemical bound by stringent environmental rules and regulations under the red category, he noted.

"The industry today has come up with innovative products by adopting superior technology to manufacture water based paints with zero discharge in the environment. Our repeated representations to the government to label the industry in the orange category have been ignored," Akula said.

He enlightened the gathering about the initiatives taken by the association members. The Indian Paint Research Centre, set up by the Association with the support of Jadavpur University has been successfully conducting 2-year post graduate program in Paint Technology to train those students who desire to make their career in the paint industry.

The Indian paint industry would like to play a proactive role and positively contribute in the development process of the country and to that end the industry looks forward to the support from all stakeholders and the government to translate our wishes into reality.

Saugat Mukherjee, Secretary, IPA and Divendyu Pundhir, Vice President, IPA were also present.

(Posted on 19-09-2013)