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Rubber scenario aims to implement corrective measures for sustainable price: Sheela Thomas
India Rubber Meet 2016 held at Grand Hyatt Goa, March 10-11

“Natural rubber sector is going through an extremely difficult phase of very low prices, which will have serious implications for the future of the entire rubber industry value chain. However sustained production of natural rubber is critical for protecting the income of the rubber farmers and ensuring availability of natural rubber for rubber product manufacturers,” said Ms Sheela Thomas, Secretary General, Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries, speaking on the global and Indian rubber production scenario at the India Rubber Meet 2016.

The India Rubber Meet (IRM), the yearly event organized by the Rubber Board in partnership with stakeholder associations in rubber and related sectors, concluded today at the Grand Hyatt Goa held in the State for the first time from March 10-11, 2016.

Continuing to speak further at the two day debate, “Rubber Scenario: What lies Ahead?” held at IRM 2016, Ms Thomas said, “The short term challenges are pricing, smaller size of land holding, gap in technology dissemination, issues in marketing chain, need for more R & D and of course, climate change. The current scenario is that of over-supply, which has led to lower prices. The government is implementing several steps. However, it may take a couple of years for the situation to correct itself and ensure a sustainable price to the farmers,” she concluded.

Dr.A. Jayathilak IAS (Chairman, Rubber Board and Chairman of the Organising Committee) while delivering his welcome address said that excessive import of rubber products including tyres often on account of dumping and tariff concessions is a critical issue. Vulnerability of domestic rubber manufacturing sector to such unwarranted competitions is to be reckoned seriously. He observed that one of the main reasons for the dwindling competitiveness of non tyre manufacturing sector has been lower scale of operation and lack of technological advancement.

The Meet was a major initiative of the Indian rubber industry to organise a regular forum for interaction, networking and exchange of information. The theme of IRM 2016 `Rubber Scenario: What lies ahead?’ reflected the present rubber sector situation, overshadowed by uncertainties emanating from macro-economic and other sector-specific developments.

Over two days, trends, challenges and prospects of the rubber sector were discussed by world renowned experts and industry leaders, giving participants an opportunity to interact with world known practitioners in various fields related to the rubber industry for formulating appropriate strategies.

Meanwhile, Day 1 of IRM 2016 opened with a talk on March 10th with `Global and Indian Economic Outlook,” delivered by Mr Dharmakirti Joshi, Chief Economist, CRISIL, Mumbai. He remarked, “Fiscal 2017, which will mark the midpoint of the Modi government, will be closely watched for its success in getting the pending big-ticket reforms bills such as the GST and Bankruptcy Code passed. The passage of these bills would not only be a big sentiment booster, but is necessary to enhance India’s medium-term growth potential.”

Speaking on the State of the Indian Non Tyre Manufacturing Industry, Mr Vinod Simon, Vice Chairman Organising Committee, India Rubber Meet 2016 said, “In an environment of uncertainty, the forward thought process is that of patience. The outcome of the two-day IRM held in Goa, projected an optimism and a positive outlook for the future, subject to improvement in the global and Indian economy.”

Day 2 on March 11th opened to an interactive session of Mr. Juan Ramon Salinas, (Managing Director & CEO, International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers) on world synthetic rubber scenario. This was followed by the talk of Mr V K Mishra(Vice Chairman, Indian Rubber Institute) on State of the Indian Tyre Manufacturing Industry stating, “The biggest challenge faced today is Product. There is no shortage of raw material, but the application of technology to product capability is what matters. Today’s global economy requires extreme amount of competency capability in all spheres. Be it raw material or end product, the need is defined by consumer and that is what we have to respect.”

The talks were followed by a panel discussion on the theme ‘Rubber Scenario: What lies ahead?’ chaired by Ms. Sheela Thomas IAS. The theme was handled from an Indian perspective. The panelists were Mr. N. Dharmaraj(President, UPASI), Mr. Mohindar Gupta(President AIRIA), Mr. P.R Muraleedharan(Rubber Grower)Mr. Rajiv Budhraja, (Director General, Automotive Tyre Manufaturers’ Association) and Mr. A. Unnikrishnan(Managing Director, Plantation Corporation of Kerala Ltd.).
   

  
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