Plastindia exhibitions have grown in stature to become a date in the international calendar for our industry. Every version of PLASTINDIA has delivered, much more than expected to the participant - be it the Exhibitor who is always on the lookout for such international platforms or the hoards of business visitors who have gone back richer in experience, as per Mr. Ashok Goel, President Plastindia Foundation, at the launch of Plastindia 2012 in Mumbai. Plastindia 2012 is all set to live up to its expectations. I have often heard that the Indian Plastics fraternity is fragmented, highly SME concentrated and is a closely run business. Despite this the Industry has been witnessing more than GDP Growth of India year on year for the past 5 to 6 years. Not many sectors can boast of a consistent growth of about 15% over these years if it wasn't for our own initiatives & enterprising spirits. However, this approach of fragmented growth has its limitations and becomes more evident when we are exposed to the international markets.
If we look at the downstream industry, during the last 3 years, Indian has almost doubled our per capita consumption of plastics to 8 kgs. Very soon we will be consuming 10 Million Tons of polymers. The machinery sector of the industry has its own development story. They are competing with the very best in the world and have carved a niche for themselves in the global market. They have been constantly improving and enabling the processing sector in India to realize optimal production. And, in the upstream industry, we have investments planned for around US$37 billion which is spread across the country. This would mean the growth of the Industry would be spread across the country and not concentrated in any region. This trend was witnessed at Plastindia 2009, where we had participants from far and wide across the country. This augers well for the Industry and what's more is that these are being noticed.
Our parent ministry has been a great support to us and during the last few years we have had several interactions on behalf of the Industry. We have witnessed proactive measures from the ministry and I am confident that ministry will continue to supporting our efforts in hastening the growth process. The plan of setting up of plastics clusters is an extremely important step which is being pursued by the Ministry of Chemicals and Petrochemicals. In India, almost everything up to the milk bag is being recycled. The recycling industry's tune would have been a case study for the world. The difference is, we have not show cased it appropriately.
As the industry is growing so are some of the constraints-the major one being "technically qualified manpower". Opportunities are a plenty for the industry. And, these are across segments - be it agriculture, healthcare, infrastructure, automobile, packaging etc. But, the much needed manpower requirements, need to be addressed in an immediate manner and Plastindia Foundation has taken up the mantle to address this issue by establishing the Plastindia Foundation Knowledge Centre. Plastindia Foundation has embarked on a very major initiative "Plasticulture", which aims at providing assistance to marginal farmers so that they can avail of the benefits of drip irrigation. This is an initiative in collaboration with NABARD who are partially financing the initiative up to 1 acre and Plastindia Foundation has extended this micro irrigation facility to these marginal farmers to 3 acres. This is being carried out at Aurangabad, where in 16 villages 1400 farmers have been identified. I am sure this initiative will gain momentum and also show case the use of plastics and its benefits to marginal farmers who can now grow more than double their crops thereby increasing their yield and hence earnings.
India is an emerging market and has caught the necessary eyeballs amongst the people who matter in the global plastics fraternity. Plastindia exhibition is an ideal platform for us to showcase to the world our capabilities. The industry's development, since they met us last in 2009. And, we are taking all possible steps to ensure that the light is on focus for Indian plastics industry. I personally feel that Plastindia 2012 is not just another opportunity. It is The Opportunity.