Piyush Goyal asks plastics industry to cut imports, become self-reliant

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Union minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday exhorted the plastics industry to reduce import dependence and aspire to become a USD 100 billion industry in the next 4-5 years.

The minister noted that there is a significant growth potential for the Indian plastic industry to become the world’s premium supply hub.

“The plastic industry needs to reduce the volume of imports and become self-reliant. The volume of imports of USD 17 billion shows that there is a clear market waiting for us to capture.

“With an economy growing at 7-8 per cent for the next 25 years, I am sure making the plastics industry a USD 100 billion industry in the next 4-5 years is very much achievable. We must aspire to reach that level,” Goyal said while speaking at the Exports Excellence Awards by the plastics exporters body PLEXCONCIL.

“It can target to take its economic activity from the current Rs 3 lakh crore to Rs 10 lakh-crore industry. This could be achieved through more exports and import substitution, which in turn will create immense job opportunities,” he added.

This growth will also provide huge employment opportunities to the youth, especially in the MSME sector, with the potential to provide jobs to people from marginalised sections who have been left behind in the development cycle, the minister said.

Currently, the plastic industry employs over 50 lakh people, according to PLEXCONCIL.

India’s plastics industry’s economic activity is worth Rs 3 lakh crore annually, of which one-third is exported.

The Union minister also urged the stakeholders of the Indian plastics industry to upgrade technology, equipment and capacities to manufacture world-class, quality products and grab to become the prime player.

Pitching for sustainability in the sector, Goyal said “we need to demonstrate to the world that Indians are environmentally conscious.” “It is important to devise ways to collect and recycle and reuse plastic waste, so that it does not mess with our environmental story. We need to seriously consider segregating and reprocessing plastic waste, once we are able to do this, it will significantly reduce the negativity about using plastics,” he added.

Lauding the plastic industry for achieving exports of USD 13 billion in 2021-22, a growth of 30 per cent, the minister said the plastics industry has done well on the exports and domestic fronts and can easily reach its export target of USD 25 billion it has set for 2025.

“Free trade agreements with the UAE and Australia, which we have signed recently will open opportunities for you in contemporary sectors, but this will be possible when we embrace international standards,” the minister said.

Goyal emphasised the importance of upholding world-class quality standards and urged the industry to upgrade technology and enhance the scale of operations.

“All our products should be second to none in the world, it is time we embrace high-quality standards which will help sustain the industry in the long run. Sectors like construction and healthcare sectors offer a lot of potential for the plastic industry; plastics can help bring down energy usage in automobiles and aeroplanes,” he added.