The Commerce Secretary said there can be no special policy for rubber.

 Kerala rubber planters want national policy to help industry Commerce Secretary dashes hopesPic : Noblevmy at ml.wikipedia
news Industries Wednesday, May 03, 2017 - 19:18

The Centre’s plan to bring about a national rubber policy was eagerly being awaited in Kerala.  But on Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Reetha Teotia dashed the hopes of rubber plantations and traders, when she told Mathrubhumi, “There can be no special policy for rubber when other important commercial crops, like spices, tea and coffee do not have them.”

The Commerce Secretary, however, added that the department would continue to consider other schemes and measures to promote the industry.

Associations like All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA), The United Planters’ Association of Southern India, different traders and political representatives have been lobbying for the policy.

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on many occasions promised to bring in a National Rubber Policy which would benefit rubber farmers. "Though the policy (on rubber) is ready, it has been getting delayed. We will announce it soon," she said in September 2016.  

An officer at the Kerala Rubber Board Satish Kumar told The News Minute that they have not yet received any official information regarding the cancellation of the rubber policy. “The government was very much considering the policy and had promised to sanction it. We have not received any official information yet on whether it has been cancelled. The policy was recommended by the committee and it is completely the government’s decision whether to accept it,” he said.

India is world’s fourth largest producer and second largest consumer of natural rubber. However, the consumption of synthetic rubber has been increasing at more than 20% year-on-year for the past five years.

Many manufacturers have taken to importing rubber, owing to its cheaper cost and this is turn has affected the domestic market. Last year, Nirmala Sitharaman had gone so far as to call the import of rubber a “huge irritant”.  

In February 2016, an expert committee comprising of officials from the Rubber Board, politicians, farmers’ associations representatives had submitted a proposal for the national rubber policy. Though the details of the policy were not made public, the Commerce Minister had noted that it would address price fluctuations faced by farmers.

The committee had submitted the report after consulting all the stakeholders in the rubber industry.

Over the years, the Centre has launched several schemes for the rubber industry.

The Commerce and Industries Ministry had formulated a crop insurance scheme, besides sanctioning Rs 24.74 crores for buying machines. The Union Ministry was also looking into a proposal of starting rubber cultivation in the Maoist affected areas.  

 

 

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