Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has said the government is in the process of incrementally rolling out the revamped Petroleum, Chemicals, and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) policy.
Speaking at the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference on Friday, Mandaviya said reducing the country’s import dependence across product categories remains a key goal, he said.
Currently, India is unable to meet its domestic requirements for all chemicals apart from Benzene. Covering more than 80,000 commercial products, India’s chemical industry is extremely diversified and can be broadly classified into bulk chemicals, specialty chemicals, agrochemicals, petrochemicals, polymers, and fertilisers. However, demand has far outstripped supply, government officials accepted.
A specific investment region with 250 square kilometres planned for the establishment of manufacturing facilities for the sector, the PCPIR policy aims to create multiple chemical hubs geared towards export and meeting specific industry needs. However, state governments had been slow to adopt the model first proposed in 2007, and the Centre has therefore brought out a new model, a ministry official said.
The PCPIR projects have a chequered history. While Tamil Nadu had cancelled a key PCPIR project in 2020, Rajasthan had been struggling to attract investments to the Barmer PCPIR. Meanwhile, one of the largest such projects in Gujarat’s Dahej has faced a series of technical challenges, accidents and environmental concerns.
However, other states have gone ahead with their plans, including Andhra Pradesh in 2021 in the Vizag-Kakinada region.
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Mandaviya said the government was making long-term policies for the chemicals and petrochemicals sector to attract investments from domestic and foreign companies. He also stressed domestic industry to follow the path of reclaim, reuse and recycle for sustainable development. The statement may have come as a response to manufacturers strongly opposing India’s extended producer responsibility norms.
“India is poised to be the new destination of petrochemicals, globally. Due to our business-friendly policies, the world views India as a trusted partner and priority destination for investment,” Mandaviya said.
“The Indian petrochemicals industry is driven by the growth of downstream industries such as plastic, synthetic fibres and rubber. As well as increasing demand for high performance material with various end use applications such as automotive, construction and textile,” IOCL Chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya said.
India is the fourth-largest producer of agrochemicals after the US, Japan, and China. India accounts for 16-18 per cent of the world production of dyestuffs and dye intermediates. Indian colorants industry has emerged as a key player with a global market share of 15 per cent, according to government estimates.