EXPORTS AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN RUBBER INDUSTRY
Natural rubber is one of the most important agro-based industrial raw materials in the world. Global natural rubber output is estimated to be around 8.6 million tons with Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and India leading the pack. China, US, Japan and India are the leading consumers of natural rubber. Global natural rubber output is slightly lower than consumption and that has helped rubber prices to touch high levels during 2010 and 2011. Despite being the fourth largest producer of natural rubber in the world, India is yet to achieve the status of a major rubber-exporting country.
India is the third largest producer of natural rubber and the fourth largest consumer of natural rubber in the world. It also stands fifth in the consumption of natural rubber and synthetic rubber together in the world. This industry has tremendous chances of growth, which in turn can lead to exponential growth in export opportunities. The thrust area underlined in this paper is about the export opportunities, the recent trends in rubber industry, India's position in rubber sector and the employment opportunities in Indian rubber industry.
India is the third largest producer of rubber in the world consistent at the rate of 6% per annum. India produces around 800,000 tones of rubber. Firming up in global level has helped natural rubber prices to gain over 20 percent to Rupees 6,699 per 100 kg in 2010-11 (Apr-Mar) compared with the same period a year ago. Kerala contributes 90% of India's total production of natural rubber. Kerala and Tamil Nadu together occupy 86% of the growing area of natural rubber. In the traditional form it is cultivated in Kanyakumari in Tamilnadu and Kerala and in the non-traditional areas it is cultivated in the coastal regions of Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Maharastra, Tripura, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
RUBBER CONSUMPTION IN INDIA
Tyre makers are the main consumers of natural rubber in India and consume nearly 60 percent and the rest by non-tyre sector. The per capita consumption of rubber in India is only 800 grams compared to 12 to 14 kilos in Japan, USA and Europe. So far as consumption of rubber products is concerned, India is far from attaining any saturation level. This is another factor leading to tremendous growth prospects of the industry.
The wide range of rubber products manufactured by the Indian rubber industry are; Auto tyres, Auto tubes, automobile parts, footwear, belting, hoses, cycle tyres and tubes, cables and wires, camelback, battery boxes, latex products, pharmaceutical goods and also hi-tech industrial items. The important areas which the industry caters to includes; All the three wings of defence; Civil,
Aviation, Aeronautics., Railways and agriculture transport, Textile, engineering industries, Pharmaceuticals, mines, steel plants. The detailed note on the consumption of natural rubber is given below;
STATUS & EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
The Indian rubber industry has a turnover of Rs. 12000 crores. The exports of Indian natural rubber have increased tremendously over the years and have reached 76000 ton in 2008-09 but annually India is importing around 50000 tons of rubber.
There are about 6000 unit comprising 30 large scale, 300 medium scale and around 5600 small scale and tiny sector units. These unit are manufacturing more than 35000 rubber products, employing 400 thousand people, which also includes 22000 technically qualified support personnel, contributing Rs. 40 billions to the National Exchequer through taxes, duties and other levies. The industry has certain distinct
advantages like: Indigenous availability of the basic raw materials like natural rubber, synthetic rubber, reclaim rubber, carbon black, rubber chemicals, fatty acids, rayon and nylon yarn and so on, a large domestic market, availability of cheap labour, training facility in various technical institutes, on-going economic reforms, improved living standards of the rubber cultivators.
EXPORT AND IMPORT PROMOTIONS
The Indian rubber industry imports natural rubber under the advance license scheme in lieu of exports. The Government has been lowering the import duty of natural rubber and some times there will not be any duty when the WTO stipulations come into full force which would cause flooding in the domestic market and this would be detrimental to the one million rubber growers.
The Kerala State Co-operative Rubber Marketing Federation has pleaded for the continuance of export subsidy to natural rubber to sustain the growers and to bring stability in the domestic market. The recognition of India as a reliable source of natural rubber in international market would propel it to a position where it could control the prices. Now the Indian rubber is fetching $50 less than the international price of exports. The export of natural rubber is not detrimental to the interests of the consuming industry, as export is viable only if international market prices are higher than the domestic prices in spite of the export incentive.
The Government offered the subsidy, with a goal to export one lakh tones of rubber during the 11th Five Year plan, However, exports crossed 1.30 lakh tone in just two years. The difference of Rs 5-7 per kg between the Indian and international prices coupled with the export subsidies enthused exporters to get active in the market. India exports to over 85 countries, including USA, Germany, France, U.K, Italy,UAE, Saudi Arabia, Africa, Afghanistan, Bangladesh.”
Rubber industry is expected to grow at over 8% p.a. in the coming decade. The industry envisages an annual growth rate of 8% and the per capita consumption of rubber at 0.8 kg. against 14 kg. There exists tremendous scope for expansion and development in coming years provided basic raw materials, particularly natural and synthetic rubber, are made available in adequate quantity and at reasonable prices. Asia is now the focus of growth in the rubber industry. World's natural rubber is grown in Thailand, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka etc.
The largest investments in new synthetic rubber plants are coming up in Asia. Production of all auto majors is shifting to Asia, even as consumption-wise Asia's share in the world's auto market grows. Highest growth and availability of technically trained manpower for the rubber industry is in this region. While EU and US have now become a saturated market for the rubber industry all the action is shifting to Asia. Low demand growth for end products, high labour costs, very strict environmental norms, non availability of natural rubber in the backyard are all propelling the worlds major input suppliers for the rubber industry to look towards Asia.
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