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All stakeholders of rubber to be consulted: Commerce Minister
Ernakulam, 26 September 2014

Problems faced by all sectors and stakeholders of rubber would be heard before taking any decision to address the present situation, said Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India. She was speaking at a meeting of the stakeholders of rubber held at Port Trust, Kochi.

The Commerce Ministry had been receiving many representations from different sectors, but the views expressed by them were often divergent and sometimes contradictory. It was felt that any decision taken to diffuse the present crisis should reflect the ground reality and that was why it was decided to convene a meeting of all the stakeholders, she said. The Ministry would also like to get suggestions and solutions to address the situation. But any action taken should ultimately ensure adequate supply of quality raw material to meet the growing demands of the industry, said the Minister.

Mr. Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala pointed out to the Commerce Minister that large scale import of rubber had been made during the last few months, which were more than what was needed to meet the domestic deficit. The wages had gone up when rubber prices were high and now farmers find it difficult to continue harvesting, the Chief Minister said. He suggested that quantity of imports should be limited to meet the deficit and that too in lean production periods, and import duty should be increased to 25 per cent or Rs.35 whichever is higher.

Mr. K.M. Mani (Finance Minister), Mr. P.J. Joseph (Minister for Irrigation), Mr. Jose K Mani MP, Prof. KV Thomas MP, Mr. KN Balagopal MP, Mr. Anto Antony MP and Mr. Joy Abraham MP also presented their views and suggestions on the present situation.

Mr. Rajani Renjan Reshmi IAS (Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce) and Ms. Vandana Yadav IAS (Director, Planatations, Ministry of Commerce) also attended the function along with the Minister. Dr. A. Jayathilak, IAS, Chairman, Rubber Board welcomed the gathering and introduced the objectives of the meeting. He also made a presentation on the current scenario and complaints and suggestions raised by various stakeholders.

The stakeholders representing various sectors of the rubber industry presented their problems and suggestions before the Minister. She assured the participants that their views would be considered while formulating programmes and policies for safeguarding the interests of all the sectors.

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