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Interview
 
December 12 , 2014
Indian Speciality Chemical Manufacturers Association promotes co-operation among companies,  encourages development of the industry and makes representations to the authorities concerned with regard to various issues that the industry is facing. In an email interaction with Anurag More, Deepak V Bhimani, president, Indian Speciality Chemical Manufacturers Association, elucidates the challenges and trends that the industry is witnessing. Excerpts:

How big is the Indian speciality chemicals industry? At what rate is it growing?
Indian speciality chemicals is about US$22 billion and is estimated to grow at a fast pace as the manufacturing has shifted in Asia where the demographic advantage is very much evident.

How do you see the industry going ahead by 2020?
By 2020, it should reach US$100 billion.

What kind of demand (domestic and international) do you see for speciality chemicals?
As our middle class is growing, the demand for goods and services is also growing. The growth of urbanisation fuels the demand for home and other infrastructure industry. This in turn will boost the requirement of speciality chemicals for construction industry, and chemical for paints, foundries, textiles, surface activity agents and so on.

Tell us about the consumption pattern.
As stated above, the consumption for home-related products including paints, healthcare, and transparent textiles will have major impact, particularly, inputs in agro-based products etc. should have major effect.

How do MNCs look at Indian speciality chemicals market?
Indian speciality has grown and matured lately. Our quality is also respected and if the availability is there large MNCs would prefer Indian products than those from other Asian countries. Many MNCs now outsource some of the small volume specialities from SMEs.

How are the government regulations for the industry?
Rules and regulations are made as amendments keep on coming to stop the misuse by very few, but majority has to face the brunt of delays on approval from Central and state governments' environment ministries, Chemicals industry wrongly bares the stigma of most polluting industry and is always blamed for not taking care of the environment. It is always looked with suspicion. This can only be addressed by efforts on the part of entrepreneurs, associations and enlightened environment ministry personnel.

What are the trends and innovations happening in the industry?
Many industries are now having recognised R&D. There is emphasis on zero discharge of effluent in the environment. There is a lot going on in adopting green chemistry by innovative procedures.
 
What are the challenges faced by the industry?
Chemical industry has to project its good side to public. The benefits derived by humans due to chemical innovation and so on. Feed stock shortage is also felt by rapidly growing chemical industry. We are short of energy. The fuel - diesel/gas - is getting costlier day by day.

How is the industry coping with the challenges?
Today lot of basic petroleum products are imported in the country but the supplies are erratic.

What steps are being taken by the association to promote the industry?
The association has taken up further issues referring to customs duties, anomalies in imposition of safeguard duties, representing industry in policy-making, calling personnel from ministry concerned to address the issues related to implementation of the policies and so on.

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