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Indian Rubber Industry
The Rubber industry has established itself as a major industry in India. In a few years time India is likely to become the second largest global player in this sector. India ranks high in natural rubber production. It is largely produced in Kerala but its production is growing in North-East India. Both Natural rubber and synthetic rubber play a complimentary role in providing the desired end properties to final rubber products made of it. The share of synthetic rubber in total rubber consumption in India is around 30% while the world average is 65%. As such the Government encourages establishment and development of synthetic rubber plants in India. Indian domestic market has the capacity to consume the entire indigenous production of natural rubber.

India is the fourth largest consumer of all rubber globally, next to China, USA & Japan. Per capita consumption of rubber in India currently is at 1.2 Kilograms versus a global average of 3.2 Kilograms. China is at 8 Kilograms (2014) and developed countries are at 13 Kilograms. Growth in natural rubber consumption in India is at 3-4% year over year and that for synthetic rubber at 15-20% since the past 5 years. This reflects the potential that exists for the growth of the industry in India which could be met by imports coupled with local manufacturing.

The constituents of the Indian Rubber industry manufacture more than 35,000 rubber products for different uses and applications. Involving different kinds of natural rubber, synthetic rubber and reclaimed rubber, the value-added rubber products include Tyres and Tubes, Automobile Rubber Parts, Belts and Beltings, Cables, Cots and Aprons, Rubber and Canvas footwear, Fenders, Gaskets, Hygienic & Pharmaceutical rubber goods, Mattings, Sports Goods, Rollers etc. Sub-sectors of each of the above have a large variety of rubber products. In fact, in India tyres and auto rubber parts segments are driving the auto sector growth.

India is the fourth largest commercial vehicles market and the second largest two-wheeler market globally and is poised to become a global automobile hub. The new thrust being given by the Government for development of road infrastructure has led to 33 per cent increase in bus production in two years.

100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is allowed in the rubber goods industry of India by the Indian government. With the saturation in rubber consumption in Western countries and the shift in consumption of rubber to the Asia Pacific region, the focal points for this decade of development will be India. Indian rubber products are exported to around 190 countries in the world.

Emerging rubber sector globally- India's potential contribution
Industrial Rubber Products - Global demand is stated to be led by growth in key OEM markets, particularly motor vehicles, and after market demand due to strong emerging developing nations. Global market is projected to rise 5.8% per annum to $ 140 billion in 2016.

Mechanical rubber goods - which include such products as body seals, vibration control devices, and wiper blades are expected to remain the largest product segment through 2016 by far. These products are employed heavily in motor vehicles, and segment growth will be largely attributable to the sanguine outlook for global automotive output.

Rubber belts and hoses will see the fastest gains of any product segment during that span, bolstered by an improving outlook for pricing relative to mechanical goods.

Rubber Gloves: The global demand has increased due to recent regulations on occupational safety. The demand is expected to grow by 10% per annum.

Rubber Cluster and the Howrah Rubber Park
West Bengal has been a pioneer of Indian rubber industry. The present industrial policy of the Government of West Bengal provides all support to the rubber industry. A mega industrial cluster of rubber is coming up in Howrah. The project is being developed under public-private partnership (PPP).

The Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry, WBIDC, and Government of West Bengal are stakeholders of this project along with 206 constituents of the Indian rubber industry on the other.

A Rubber Park is being developed over 110 acres of land under the cluster at Sanjhrail with a project cost of Rs 50 crore (USD 7 million). The Park is expected to attract investment worth Rs 1500 crore (USD 200 million). The infrastructure developmental work of the Park is on in full swing. It is proposed to have facilities like Business Centre, IT Centre, Drawing& Designing Centre, state-of-the-art testing labs apart from individually developed logistics & distribution facilities and manufacturing units.

A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) has been formed in the name of South Asia Rubber & Polymers Park (SARPOL) to set up, maintain and administer the Park. An MOU has been signed between IRMRA, Govt of India and SARPOL where in IRMRA will set up a common testing laboratory centre in the name of IRMRA-East. It will also design and develop IT centre, training centre, design and product development centre.

Besides providing opportunities for setting up small and medium manufacturing units the Park will accommodate the existing small rubber goods manufacturing units, which are situated in the congested localities of Kolkata and Howrah.

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