May 11 | Updated on: May 11, 2022

Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad highlights paper sector’s potential to create jobs

There is immense potential for increasing paper production in India, as per capita consumption is low and bound to increase with growth in the economy, Union Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad said.

“Paper production in the country needs to be augmented by 7-8 times for domestic industry to meet the surging demand and to make India aatmanirbhar [self-reliant]. Currently India accounts for only 4-5 per cent of global production of paper. Paper consumption in India needs to be promoted in view of the employment it generates,” Karad said at the inauguration of Paperex 2022, one of the largest paper industry events in the world, at Gautam Buddha Nagar in Uttar Pradesh.

Karad emphasised on innovation in the use of farm residues as raw material for the paper industry and the use of renewable energy.

Paper industry has borne the brunt of demand contraction for two years since educational institutions and offices were closed following the Covid-19 outbreak. Now demand is picking up. However, raw material availability and pricing are a concern. Against the need for over 20 million tonnes of waste paper, only about 12 million tonnes is available in the country and the rest must be imported. Recovery of waste paper must be enhanced, said Pramod Agarwal, President, Indian Agro & Recycled Paper Mills Association (IARPMA), which organises the Paperex conference and exhibition.

Pulpwood plantation

. Over 12 lakh hectares of degraded land in rural areas has been brought under pulpwood plantation by the paper industry, bolstering green cover, generating rural livelihoods, and supplementing farm incomes. The industry plants more trees than it harvests, said AS Mehta, President, Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA), in his keynote address.

Paper industry has huge potential for growth as per capita consumption in India is 15 kg against the global average of 57 kg, and 200 kg in developed countries.

KS Kasi Viswanathan, Chairman, Technical Committee, Paperex 2022, said, the pulp and paper Industry has made rapid strides in recent years to raise production and improve product quality. “We are in touch with the Government for a plantation policy to use degraded land for plantations,” he said.

Growth potential

Paper consumption in India is projected to grow by 6-7 per cent per annum in the next five years and touch 30 million tonnes by FY2026-27, making it the fastest growing paper market in the world.

The emphasis on education and literacy coupled with growth in organised retail and demand for better quality paper are the major drivers of growth. There has been continued demand for quality packaging from FMCG products, pharmaceuticals, textiles, organised retail, e-commerce, and other segments.

Published on May 11, 2022