The Department of Commerce and Industry has proposed to repeal is proposing a repeal of the Rubber Act of 1947in order to incorporate the widespread changes in the constitutional, industrial and economic scenario of the country with reference to development in rubber and allied sectors. The Rubber Board is proposing the enactment of a new piece of legislation: the Rubber (Promotion and Development) Bill 2022.
The Rubber Act 1947 was enacted on April 18, 1947, and has been amended in 1954, 1960, 1982, 1994, with the last set of amendments being affected in 2010. The Act was originally set up to provide for the development of the rubber industry under the control of the Union. The Rubber Board explained that the developments since then in terms of other legislation, changes in India’s industrial and economic scenario, commitment towards ease of doing business, and need for the rationalization of the functions of the Rubber Board have necessitated replacing the existing and now outdated Rubber Act. 1947 with a piece of modern legislation. According to the Board, it is imperative to remove the archaic provisions that no longer meet the requirements of the present scenario and create a conducive environment for the development and growth of the industry.
Additionally, the Rubber Board pointed out that its functions need to be expanded in a holistic manner so that areas/services already being provided are taken care of. Under the new bill, the Board shall be responsible for the promotion and development of the Indian rubber industry.
Objectives of the bill
- To promote the overall sustainability of the Rubber Industry with respect to economic, social, and environmental dimensions,
- To provide the required focus towards the development of the entire Rubber Industry value chain from upstream production to downstream manufacturing activities,
- To strategize towards the increase in area under Natural Rubber by new planting without causing any adverse impact on forests/natural ecosystems and food security,
- To facilitate the increase in average national rubber productivity through appropriate agro management practices including systematic replanting and ensuring better income for the growers,
- To strategize towards the meeting of the raw material requirement of domestic industry through domestic production as far as possible,
- To promote activities for ensuring the quality of processed forms of NR at par with international standards,
- To promote the development of the rubber product manufacturing sector and facilitate the export of quality rubber products
Rubber industry at a glance
For the next 25 years, Rubber Board has set a goal to quadruple India’s export of rubber goods from the current earnings of 25,000 crores. In 2020, India was the world’s sixth-largest producer of natural rubber. and the fourth-largest in south Asia, behind Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The land area available for natural rubber cultivation has increased over the past years. In 2020, just over 822 thousand hectares were used for rubber plantations across the country. A 2019 government report states that the production capacity in India is around 900,000 tonnes, of which around 75% is tapped. Traditional rubber-growing states comprising Kerala and Tamil Nadu account for 81% of production. Major non-traditional rubber growing regions are the North-Eastern states of Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya, Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and West Bengal.
India is the 2nd largest consumer of NR globally with current consumption of around 1.1 million tonnes.
Invitation for public comments
Views, comments, and suggestions about the Bill may be sent via mail: Secretary, Rubber Board, Sub Jail Road, Kottayam – 686002, Kerala or email: [email protected] before January 21, 2022.
A copy of the draft bill is available for review on the website of India’s Department of Commerce (https://commerce.gov.in) and also on the Rubber Board website (http://rubberboard.gov.in), for comments from industry stakeholders and the public at large.