Monday, 20 October 2014

Indian Chemical industry must seize the ‘Make in India’ opportunity

“Indian chemical industry has an established base, and today the 
industry stands at the cusp of high growth”, said Dr. Jacques Perez, 
Managing Director and Country Representative, LANXESS India, 
opening the session on ‘Making India a specialty chemicals hub: 
Potential and Investment opportunities in the sector’ at India Chem 
2014 held in Mumbai on October 10, 2014.The optimistic start set 
the tone for the session, indicating that the Indian chemical industry 
has significant potential which could be realized by leveraging the 
strengths and addressing the challenges in a focused manner. 

In his presentation, Perez reflected on industry findings which 
showed that India has a lower per-capita consumption of chemicals 
as compared to China despite a similar population, providing an 
opportunity for a sustained long term growth. He explained that the 
domestic demand is on a constant rise spurred by the rapid rate of 
urbanization and increasing population in the ‘working and 
consumer’ age bracket. This implies that the demand for better 
quality and safer products will increase, which in turn will propel the 
demand for specialty chemicals. Thereby, it is imperative that the 
industry and government lay emphasis on the specialty chemicals 
sector and make the most of the ‘Make in India’ initiative by the 
Government of India. 

However, this can be made possible only if certain essentials are 
provided for with an aim to secure a competitive advantage, Perez 
affirmed. Adequate and continuous availability of feedstock(raw 
material for specialty chemicals) and energy, upgraded and stable 
infrastructure, sustainable chemical parks at par with global 
standards are quintessential to attract investments in the specialty 
chemicals sector, he pointed out.“Chemical zones like PCPIRs 
incorporate these features in concept but implementation is rather 
slow. Such zones must be built along with sewage and effluent 
treatment linkage from plants to common disposal sites, good 
connectivity to ports by roadways and railways, and other utility 
features for sustainable development”, emphasized Perez. 

He advised that the government could step in to help companies in 
technological up gradation and take measures to foster innovation in 
the Indian chemical industry. Only then will the industry enrich its 
prospects for long term growth, consolidate its position as a top 
notch player in the global chemical industry and become a sourcing 
hub for the global markets. 

Last but not the least, he said that the industry and government both 
must take measures to attract, recruit and retain the right talent in 
the industry and focus on skill development. He iterated that skilled 
manpower will be required to make India a ‘zero defect, zero effect’ 
manufacturing hub. 

Perez admitted that while steps are required to fuel the growth of the 
Indian chemical industry, certain initiatives by the government such 
as the formulation of the National Manufacturing Policy, roll out of 
National Chemical Policy and the ‘Make in India’ initiative are 
noteworthy and will support the cause. 

Perez also shared LANXESS’ focus on sustainability  at sites and its 
‘Make in India’ experience with the audience. LANXESS has a 
greenfield investment in Jhagadia in Gujarat, which manufactures 
rubber chemicals, ion exchange resins, biocides, additives and 
release agents and high-tech plastics. The site is built to world class 
standards with focus on optimal resource use, minimum 
environmental impact and safety for all. 

The other site is in Nagda, Madhya Pradesh which manufactures 
advanced intermediates catering to various application segments 
like agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, flavors and fragrances, 
dyestuff and coatings. LANXESS has made substantial investments 
in the site towards sustainability, since acquisition of the site assets 

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